Caring for an aging parent can be a stressful process. You may worry about their health, the future, and whether they’re getting the care they need. While these concerns are valid, there are ways to reduce your stress and ensure that you’re doing all you can to help your parents age comfortably at home.
First, make a plan for the changes you can anticipate. Although it may be emotional, have a conversation with your parents about their current and future healthcare needs. Topics you may wish to address include the accessibility of your parents’ home, a nutrition and exercise plan, medical needs, a living will, finances, health insurance, and a health care proxy.
You may initially think that the easiest way to plan for your parents’ aging is to relocate them either closer to you or to a nursing home; however, that’s not usually the case. You may be spending unnecessary money to move your parents from a comfortable environment where they have friends, a community, and a happy life. Also, if your aging parent is beginning to show signs of dementia, moving them from a familiar environment may worsen their symptoms. (Learn more about the advantages of aging at home rather than in a nursing home.)
Next, evaluate the safety of your parents’ home. Making home modifications for aging parents is much easier when you’ve planned ahead rather than after an incident such as a slip or a fall. Pay attention to stairs, the bathtub or shower, the toilet, lighting, and the accessibility of everyday items like clothes, food, and dishes. Thinking ahead to prevent slips and falls in your aging parents’ home will help reduce your stress by knowing that you’ve made your parents’ home as safe as possible.
Also, don’t be afraid to share the workload. It’s not always easy to ask for help, but in the long run, it will help keep your stress in check and it may even help your parents feel a sense of community around them as they age. If you have siblings or other relatives, speak with them about helping your parents. Help may also come from neighbors, a local church, an in-home caregiving service, or friends of your parents. Having a trusted group of people to help your parents age comfortably can help take much of the weight off of your shoulders.
You may also wish to utilize technology to better help you take care of your parents. From medicine dispensers to easy communication methods to home safety and alert systems, technology has become a very helpful tool to help you and your parents stay connected, safe, and healthy.
And finally, remember to take care of yourself as well. Caring for an aging parent can take a significant amount of time, and keeping yourself physically and emotionally healthy will help you maintain a low stress level. Some common signs of caregiver stress include anger, social isolation, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, irritability, and sleep/health problems. If you see these signs in your life, take note, and work to become healthier through good nutrition, exercise, leisure time, and possibly talking to a trusted friend or counselor.
Throughout your parents’ aging, make sure that they know you are there for them. By remaining patient and supportive throughout the process, you’ll help your parents feel comfortable while aging at home, and at the same time, you’ll experience less stress in the process. To learn more about how Home Access Products can help your aging parent age comfortably at home, please call us today.