Elder care is stressful for the elder and for the carer. Balancing proper care with independence and maintaining their dignity isn’t always easy. If you’re struggling to cope, and to find this balance, try these tips to make things easier on you and your elderly parents.
Remember to take care of number one as well as caring for your elderly parents. You can’t for another if you aren’t caring for yourself. Try to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep and remembering to eat well. Try and exercise occasionally, and take a break if you’re starting to feel tired or run down.
Make sure that you can make any decision regarding your parents’ medical care that you don’t feel they’re able to make for themselves. Make sure that you can make choices about hospitals or medicine. Access to their bank accounts may also be wise, as there are many money scams that target older people. Check their finances for any irregularities.
Recruit other family members to help divide up the care responsibilities. Caring is tiring, so make sure you’re not the only one doing it. Something as simple as having another relative bring in food sometimes can ease the load of care on you. Give your number to your parents’ neighbours so they can call you in an emergency.
Consider assisted living at a place like Porthaven. The advantage of assisted living is that it combines expert care with some independence. Assisted living facilities will have staff who are used to dealing with elder care and more challenging health conditions like dementia. Your parents can get the care they need, without putting all the pressure on you, but will still be able to feel independent and respected during their care.
Take a first aid course so you are better equipped to help your parents in the case of an emergency. Learn the symptoms of things like a heart attack or stroke, and how to respond if it happens. Learn how to put someone into the recovery position. If your parent is less mobile, learn how to treat burns or cuts and scrapes from falls. Basic first aid will help you in other parts of your life too.
Let go of guilty feelings. Caring for an elderly parent can be stressful and frustrating. If care takes up a lot of your time, it’s normal to resentful sometimes too. If you feel this way, don’t feel guilty, as these feelings are very normal and common for carers. To relieve this, make sure you still have some time for yourself.
Join a local group for carers, or find a forum for carers to join online. These groups can be a very important support work to help you process your feelings about caring for parents. The group will understand what you’re going through.
Remember to stay patient and sympathetic. Needing care is distressing for your parents too, especially if they feel they have lost their independence and dignity by having to rely on you. Talk through any negative feelings to work through them in a healthy way.