As parents age, physical and mental decline is an inevitable fact of life. Adult children will usually be faced with the prospect of caring for their elderly parents at some point.
Before this life-altering transition occurs, it’s prudent to consider what’s involved. Having conversations with all of the parties involved will also help prepare everyone for what’s coming.
Caring for senior parents must include protecting their physical, emotional, and mental well-being as they live out the final years of their lives.
Activities of Daily Living
Some activities are necessary to perform every day to ensure a person’s general well-being, including their physical and emotional health. If health issues make it impossible to perform these activities, a caregiver will need to provide assistance.
- Self-care activities may include feeding, dressing, bathing, personal grooming, toilet hygiene, and moving about the home.
- Some self-care activities may be easier with adaptive equipment and accessories, such as a walker, a shower chair, and a lift chair.
Instrumental Activities Of Daily Living
Other types of daily activities are not mandatory, but they are connected with independent living. Assisting with these instrumental daily activities might be assigned to a family member or professional caregiver.
- Instrumental activities include cooking meals, cleaning, shopping, running errands, paying bills, answering the phone, and taking medications.
- Some activities need to be performed daily, while others might be done weekly or even monthly.
- Some tasks can be performed with the help of technology, such as answering the phone or paying bills.
Living Arrangement Options
Living arrangements for elderly parents depend on factors including their budget, their health, and the ability of adult children to provide daily care. Living arrangements may change as aging progresses.
- A senior citizen may prefer to age at home for as long as possible, maintaining their independence and privacy.
- Living with relatives is a solution for many families, making it possible for elderly parents to receive both care and companionship.
- Some seniors choose to move to communities where they can get help with housekeeping and meals. Medical support is usually not provided in these communities.
- Assisted living communities may offer a step up in services, including help with personal care, medication, and transportation.
- Nursing homes provide around-the-clock medical care for aging parents who need either short- or long-term care.
Finances will be a major factor in how adult children care for aging parents. Some seniors may be eligible for government assistance. Caregivers may also be eligible for tax relief by claiming an elderly parent as a dependent.
- Elderly parents can receive free tax assistance in some cases.
- Disability benefits may help to cover some care expenses.
- Some insurance policies will also help with expenses.
- Caregiving 101: Explore the responsibilities of caring for a loved one, and compare the prospect of taking on these tasks with the option of hiring a professional to perform the work.
- Where Can I Go to Get Help With Caregiving Stress and Burnout? Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming, so it’s important to take breaks to ease the tension.
- Seven Tips for New Caregivers: Have conversations about aging and care before a parent needs help so you have a plan in place.
- What Can a Caregiver Really Do From Afar? Even from a distance, family members can help with finances, arrange home care, and provide emotional support.
- Care Plans Help Both Older Adults and Caregivers: A care plan summarizes health conditions and treatments required for care and outlines how care will be managed from day to day.
- Guide for Caregivers: Being a caregiver often includes tasks like administering medication, providing transportation, helping with daily personal care, doing housework, cooking meals, and paying bills.
- The Toll of Caring for Frail, Aging Parents: Caring for aging and increasingly frail parents can go on for many years as life spans increase.
- Caring for the Elderly: Dealing With Resistance: Sometimes, elderly parents resist care if they don’t want to lose their privacy and independence.
- Planning the Care of Your Aging Parents: Planning the care of aging parents should include drawing up legal documents such as a power of attorney and a will that outlines their dying wishes.
- Understanding Choices Adult Children Make to Care for Elderly Parents Should Help Policymakers: Adult children will usually be faced with deciding who will care for elderly parents, whether it be them or professional caregivers.
- Tips for Caring for Aging Parents and Sick Loved Ones: Caregivers need a strong support network to help prevent burnout.
- Caring for Aging Parents: Caring for an elderly parent might come about suddenly if their health takes a rapid decline.
- Ten Tips for Talking to Your Aging Parents: Have early and frequent conversations with aging parents, and make sure to include other family members in the discussions.
- What I Learned: How to Help Your Aging Parents: In the process of discussing care with aging parents, adult children need to set limits and say “no” when situations demand it.
- Caring for Aging Parents in Today’s Busy Society: Adult children who are employed and busy with their daily lives may find it difficult to allocate time to care for aging parents.
- Caregiver Burnout: Caring for Aging Parents: Signs of caregiver burnout can include fatigue, irritability, withdrawal from friends and family, apathy, insomnia, substance use, and guilt.
- Budgeting for a Retirement Home for Your Parents: Adult children who have parents who are older than average will be younger when it’s time to assume the tasks of caregivers.
- Caring for Aging Parents: Many adult children need to find sources of financial assistance as they care for their aging parents.
- Compensation When Caring for Elderly Parents: Missed wages and even having to leave a job altogether to care for aging parents can be common situations for adult children.
- How to Care for Elderly Parents With Mental Illness: Mental illness can make caring for an elderly parent even more challenging, and adult children should seek professional assistance in this situation.
- How to Be a Better Caregiver When a Loved One Gets Sick: Break up tasks into smaller chunks to make them feel more manageable, and don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help from others.