How Can I Help My Elderly Parent Stay at Home? | The Good Care Group

How can I help my elderly parent stay at home?

Ageing in place is the goal for many older people, but health conditions, mobility concerns, or feelings of loneliness and social isolation can often make this challenging. Many people mistakenly believe that if they can no longer live at home alone, they must move into a residential care facility.

If you have an elderly parent or relative that you are concerned may be struggling to live well at home, there are subtle signs that you can look for that indicate they may need extra support.

We have created this guide with everything adult children need to know about  helping their parents or relatives to age safely and comfortably in their own homes. We also explore how home care is a suitable option for meeting your parent’s support needs from the comfort of their own home.

Signs your elderly parent may need extra support

It is not always obvious when a parent requires additional support. Many older people feel they will burden their families if they share the challenges they face in living well independently. Some fear that asking for extra support means losing their autonomy or independence.

There are some subtle indicators that may signal that your relative needs additional assistance in their daily lives. Keep a watchful eye for changes in routine activities, lapses in memory, shifts in mood, expressing loneliness or difficulties in managing medications. These signs can be early warnings, letting us know it’s time to promptly address their needs to safeguard their physical and emotional well-being.

Here are some additional signs that your relative may need extra support:

  • Changes in daily activities: Look for changes in your parent’s ability to perform routine tasks or activities of daily living. They may struggle to cook nutritious meals, move safely around their home or maintain their home to their usual standards.
  • Memory lapses: Forgetfulness or difficulty recalling names, dates, or important events. Be sure to discuss these concerns with your parent’s GP as they could also be the symptom of a health condition like dementia.
  • Mood swings: Unexplained shifts in mood, including increased irritability, sadness, or anxiety. This could signal your parent is dealing with mental health concerns or they feel lonely or socially isolated.
  • Medication management challenges: Difficulty in consistently and accurately managing medications as prescribed.
  • Changes in personal care routines: Neglect of personal grooming and hygiene, such as infrequent bathing or unkempt appearance that is out of the ordinary. Heath conditions, mobility concerns or mental health issues like depression can all make it difficult to keep up with personal care.
  • Physical limitations: Noticeable declines in mobility or increased difficulty in moving around independently.
  • Social withdrawal: A decline in social activities and interactions, potentially leading to social isolation and feelings of loneliness.
  • Health concerns: Persistent or worsening health issues that may require additional attention and care.

Supporting your elderly parent to stay at home

Ensuring your parent’s comfort and independence at home might appear overwhelming, but by taking deliberate steps, you can make this journey both manageable and rewarding. Here are some practical steps you can take:

Assess your parent’s needs:

Start by taking a comprehensive assessment of your parent’s current abilities and potential limitations. Do your parents need support for only a couple of hours a day or could they benefit from round-the-clock care?

Consider all aspects of their daily life, such as personal care, mobility, and the management of household tasks and medications. It can be helpful to spend some time with your parent at home so that you can see for yourself what they may be struggling with. Some older people may not realise themselves what aspects of daily living they need help with, so it can be beneficial to see it for yourself.

Have a conversation about their needs and wants:

It’s important to take the time to sit down with your loved one and engage in a conversation about their preferences and requirements. You may find that your assumptions about their wishes differ from their actual desires or needs. Discussing the topic of ageing can be awkward for both the parent and the child, yet fostering open communication is essential for making well-informed decisions. If your parent is still coherent and able to discuss these matters, allocate dedicated time to have a candid discussion and address all concerns.

Create a safe living environment:

Many homes are not designed with the needs of the elderly in mind. Perform a thorough safety assessment of your parent’s home, identifying all the necessary changes to ensure it remains a safe and comfortable living space for them. Some modifications, like replacing round door knobs with lever handles or installing grab bars, are simple and cost-effective. However, more substantial changes, such as installing a stair lift, can be considerably pricier and may require the expertise of external contractors.

If the idea of moving your parent into your own home seems financially more viable, conduct a similar safety audit and financial assessment for your residence. Ensure that your home is equipped to meet their needs, taking into account any potential modifications or adjustments.

Be sure to consult our home safety checklist for the elderly to guarantee that no crucial aspects are overlooked.

Consider the extent of the support you can provide:

You should also have a conversation with your family about how much you can contribute to your ageing parent’s care. Caring for an ageing parent can, at times, be challenging, both mentally and emotionally. It usually leaves you less time and energy to put towards other activities, such as caring for your children or working a full-time job.

If you have other commitments, be realistic with yourself about how much time you can contribute to caring for your parents or relatives. Keep in mind that just because they don’t need a lot of help now doesn’t mean that they won’t need more assistance in the future, so be prepared for that possibility later on down the line.

Encourage independence:

Preserving your parent’s sense of autonomy is not just about meeting their physical needs but also nurturing their emotional well-being. Involve them in decision-making processes related to their care, always respecting their preferences and choices. Consider if it may be beneficial to help incorporate activities that stimulate mental and physical health into your parent’s everyday life. This can help foster a positive mindset and a continued sense of purpose.

Establish a support network:

Building a robust support network is crucial for both you and your ] parent. Engage with friends, family, and neighbours to create a community of care around your loved one. This network can provide not only practical assistance with errands but also emotional support and companionship, alleviating the potential feelings of isolation that older people may experience.

Create an emergency plan:

If you determine that your loved one can feasibly stay safe and comfortable in their own home, it becomes important to devise a strategy for various emergency situations. Consider scenarios such as if they were to fall and couldn’t reach the phone—how would they call for help? In the event of hospitalisation, decide on the medical facility and arrange transportation.

Be sure to keep important contact information for doctors, emergency rooms, and other crucial medical services somewhere visible, perhaps on the fridge or another easily visible location. This preparation will not only offer you greater peace of mind but also ensure a swift and coordinated response in times of need.

Explore home care options:

Home care services, including both live-in and hourly care, offer personalised care and support in your parent’s home. With hourly care, a part-time carer will visit your parents on an as-needed basis ranging from a few hours a day to daily visits throughout the week. This option offers the most flexibility as care can be completely personalised to your parent’s support needs.

Live-in care is another option for people who need substantial round-the-clock care. A dedicated carer will move into your parent’s home to provide daily support with personal care, daily household tasks, companionship and emotional support.

Both these options allow your parent to age comfortably in their own home whilst ensuring they receive the assistance they need. The versatility of home care options ensures that your parent’s needs are met while accommodating your own commitments and responsibilities.

‘Outstanding’ home care for elderly parents

With over 10 years of experience, The Good Care Group provides high-quality home care that allows our valued clients to continue living safely and comfortably in their own homes while improving their overall health and well-being.

We offer highly personalised, one-to-one care that reflects individual needs, choices, wishes, and social preferences, allowing clients to maintain their independence and enjoy their preferred lifestyle.

As one of less than 1% of live-in care providers rated ‘Outstanding’, The Good Care Group offers one simple thing: care without compromise. Contact us today to see how we can help you and your family.

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