7 Things to Think About Caring for an Elderly Parent

7 things to think about caring for an elderly parent

Decide whether you‘re best placed to start caring for an elderly parent or whether a live-in care solution might help you spend more quality time together.

Caring for an ageing parent is undoubtedly a noble endeavour but also a significant responsibility. While taking on the role of a caregiver is undoubtedly noble, it’s essential to weigh the responsibilities and explore alternative solutions that might enhance the quality of time you spend together.

In this article, we’ll explore seven of the most significant things you should consider before deciding whether to provide ongoing care for an older parent.

What to think about before deciding on caring for an elderly parent

There is so much to think about before choosing a care model, and the route by which everyone enters care is different.

However, these are seven of the most universal considerations worth considering when deciding whether caring for an older parent is the best option for both parties.

1. Impact on relationship

Caring for a parent can dramatically change the dynamic between older parents and their children.

Having grown used to being the one who’s cared for and guided by a parent, you’ll need to adapt to something of a role reversal.

Some parents or children may feel that carrying out certain sensitive tasks – such as those relating to personal hygiene or finances – oversteps a boundary.

It’s also important to remember that the context in which you meet will change. Rather than coming together for a special occasion or way to spend your downtime, you’ll be supporting your parent in day-to-day domestic activities.

2. Medical assistance required

You’ll also need to acquire the expertise and equipment to support them from a medical perspective.

This could involve a specific responsibility, such as managing their medication or assisting with a physiotherapy programme. Or, it could involve something more general, like monitoring their condition and adapting their care arrangement accordingly.

You’ll need to assist in adapting their home to suit their level of mobility. You may also need to learn how to use specialist medical equipment safely.

Lastly, there’s a realistic possibility that you’ll need to intervene during a serious medical episode. You should, therefore, be confident that you’ll be able to react in a calm, rational manner.

3. Time management

Think about the impact this arrangement could have on your daily schedule and whether this could negatively affect your relationship.

Caring for an ageing relative is a huge responsibility that’s likely to require hours of your time each day. You might be able to settle into a pattern, but the care requirement is likely to increase over time.

The care arrangement might well go beyond a daily house visit. Your loved one is likely to require support with things like hospital visits, social visits and collection of prescription medications.

With all this in mind, it’s important to consider how the arrangement might impact your future. This includes areas like relations with the rest of your family, your career and scope for personal development.

4. Emotional well-being

Caring for an elderly loved one can be a deeply emotional experience, one that intertwines moments of joy and connection with the inherent emotional demands of the role. As you extend your care to a loved one, it is essential to consider the potential impact on your emotional well-being, recognising that caregiving can bring up a spectrum of emotions.

Caring for a loved one can indeed be a source of profound joy and connection, creating meaningful moments that strengthen the bond between you and your loved one. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that caregiving can also be emotionally demanding. The responsibilities, challenges, and witnessing the impact of health issues on a loved one can evoke a range of emotions, from empathy and compassion to moments of sadness or frustration.

Being prepared for this emotional rollercoaster is integral to maintaining your own mental health throughout the journey. Establishing strategies for self-care and emotional well-being is not only beneficial for you but also enhances the quality of care you provide.

This could involve seeking support from friends, family, or support groups, practising mindfulness or relaxation techniques, and recognising when to take moments for yourself to recharge through respite care.

5. Financial implications

Caring for a loved one involves not only emotional and physical commitment but also navigating the financial landscape associated with providing comprehensive care. Delving into the financial aspects of caregiving is a crucial step toward understanding the potential costs involved and ensures you have the resources to provide the care your loved one needs.

It can be helpful to undertake a comprehensive assessment of potential costs. These may include medical expenses, home modifications to enhance accessibility, and respite or hourly care services. Understanding the scope of financial requirements allows you to plan effectively and make informed decisions about the level of care that can feasibly be provided.

Your loved one may be eligible for funding to help cover some or all of the costs of their care. Explore our “how care funding works” page to learn more.

6. Community support

Caring for a loved one is often easier when you have the support and strength of the local community. When considering where your loved one would be happiest, don’t forget the invaluable role that community support can play in enhancing the well-being of both you and your loved one.

Explore local resources and services that support caregivers and their elderly family members. Community centres often offer programs and activities designed to foster social connections and provide valuable assistance.

Joining local or online support groups allows you to connect with fellow caregivers and offers a space to share experiences, exchange advice, and find solace in the understanding of others who are navigating similar paths. The emotional support gained from these communities can be a powerful source of encouragement.

7. Legal considerations

You may want to explore the concept of power of attorney, a legal document that designates someone to make decisions on behalf of your loved one if they are unable to do so.

Discussing and establishing power of attorney ensures that decisions align with your loved one’s wishes and best interests, before an emergency situation arises. It’s a proactive step in anticipating potential scenarios and ensuring a smooth decision-making process during challenging times.

Learn more about power of attorney and how to start a conversation with your loved ones in our Power of Attorney Guide.

How to get care for elderly parents

Live-in care helps keep older people in their treasured homes and provides a welcome degree of familiarity and companionship.

Each client is able to have input into selecting a dedicated team of two live-in carers. This expert team has been comprehensively trained in various medical and care-related tasks.

And, with live-in care, you can focus on making the most of the time spent with your loved one rather than getting distracted or weighed down by domestic tasks.

Find out more about our CQC-rated ‘Outstanding’ live-in care today by contacting our friendly team.

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