If you’ve taken on the responsibility of being a caregiver to a parent in your home, then it’s a big responsibility. Unless you’ve worked in a nursing home before, you’ll be unprepared for how to ease the transition and not let it completely take over your life.
Here are four tips for taking care of an elderly parent when they’ve moved in with you:
- Enroll the Family in Helping Out
When you have other members of your family nearby, enroll them in helping you to take care of your live-in parent.
Don’t let it be assumed that everything now falls on your hands because they’re now living with you. Of course, you have assumed the majority of the responsibility but call on other family members to do their bit too.
By bringing in the rest of the family, they won’t feel left out or frustrated that they cannot help more. Pass certain chores or tasks that they’re better suited to onto them to reduce your burden.
- Plan Cooking and Eating Times More Carefully
Cooking will necessarily change because many elderly people either don’t like fussy food or it will interfere with their digestion. Therefore, see how and what they eat so that meal plans can be adjusted for their diet.
Making such adjustments either means that your meals will match theirs or that you’re cooking two meals separately.
Also, understand that eating may increasingly be a challenge for them. Arthritis in their fingers could make it difficult to hold a fork, knife, or spoon steadily. As a result, much to their embarrassment, eating may have become a messy affair.
Be sure to help them to keep clothes dry with an adult bib that slips on/off in a second. It avoids them needing to change clothes after each mealtime.
- Accessibility Matters More with Age
Getting around becomes far more difficult with advancing years. Focus on increasing their accessibility, especially in areas where they’re struggling.
Getting out of bed in the morning may pose a few problems. A modified bed for seniors might be required to ease their transition from laying flat to reaching the standing position and visa-versa.
Walking up steps will increasingly prove too much. Add a ramp at a light gradient instead.
Also, anything that they need should be moved to a comfortable level. This way, they won’t either have to crouch down or reach up to access it.
- Take Planned Outings
You’re both used to getting out and about, visiting the park, or going to other interesting places.
To avoid feeling stuck in the home all the time, it’s important that you still participate in organized activities. These might be individually or together. If you can find a company that organizes day trips for seniors, that might be one answer.
Avoid getting into the rut of never going out other than for shopping trips. This can create itchy feet syndrome or resentment because of the new lack of freedom. Also, don’t be afraid to ask family members to cover for a day or hire an elderly care service provider.
For caregivers of older family members, it’s often a learning curve. Certainly, your parent isn’t used to being taken care of by you. There may be some reluctance to ask for help or show when they’re struggling. Therefore, it’s necessary to be both more observant and open to noticing and making the necessary changes to enhance their comfort.