You have been providing help to your parents off and on, but lately, you’re concerned about what is going on when you are not with them. If you think your aging parent may need additional help, you should sit down and talk to them about possible choices. Most often you will need to explain what you are seeing and how it is impacting their daily living and well-being. Although this might not be an easy conversation to have with them, doing so is imperative before there is an emergency. You may want to enlist support from siblings or other family members for this discussion.

How Do You Know If An Aging Parent Needs Help?

What to Look For

Possible signs your aging parents need additional care include:

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Becoming forgetful
  • Unexplained bruising, possible trips/falls
  • Missing important appointments
  • Change in their mood, losing interest in hobbies or activities
  • Forgetfulness in taking medications and/or filling prescriptions
  • Personal hygiene issues
  • Housework is not being completed, uncharacteristically cluttered, disorganized, and dirty
  • Expired food in the pantry/refrigerator, or lack of food in the house
  • Finances are being neglected and bills are not being paid
  • Lack of communication with friends and family

Taking care of an older parent tends to bring up different issues that need to be addressed. How will you manage work, children, and other responsibilities while providing ongoing care? You may start off with the best intentions but find that it becomes a full-time role as a caregiver.

Well-intentioned people often inadvertently treat older relatives in ways that can threaten their autonomy or dignity or otherwise strain the relationship. It is common for family caregivers to experience relationship challenges with siblings, a caregiving parent, or others that may be involved.

Plan Ahead

You may need to plan ahead for future declines, emergencies, as well as end-of-life care for your aging parent. This should reduce later stress, hassles, and sometimes expenses.

Caregiving can be lonely and an isolating job. You may elect to obtain assistance from other family members or an in-home care provider. Many in-home care providers have a range of hours they can assist with. This may allow you to work around your employment, responsibilities with kids or your own respite care.

Most aging adults prefer to stay at home where they are comfortable with their surroundings and routine. Allowing them to stay at home with some care may be the best solution. Having someone providing hands-on care at home when you are away can bring great comfort. If they are open to other options, senior living communities or assisted living homes may offer them the caregiver support they want and need.

Discussing Care Options With Aging Parents

If your parent lives a distance from you and you are contemplating having them come to live with you and your family, be sure to have an honest discussion as a family unit so as not to add stress to the household.

Discussion Points:

  • What are the ground rules about privacy as well as alone time?
  • Do you need to set boundaries around cooking and housekeeping?
  • Are there health issues that could progress, what would the next steps be if staying home isn’t an option?
  • How will finances be shared (or not)?
  • Will other family members (siblings for example) be involved with care?

Every family’s situation involving aging parents can be different. Is the spouse supportive especially for a long-term stay? How could this affect the family overall? A discussion with the entire family needs to occur prior to moving the parent.

Importance of Communication

The bottom line is that communication is imperative when dealing with an aging parent and other family members. Set up a plan to discuss options and be honest with them. Let your aging parents know you are concerned about their well-being and why. Consider all care options and also come prepared to share information about these options. If they are capable, let them be a part of the decision process. Getting their buy-in can be a big part of the success in their long-term care.

Additional Reading: Parenting Your Aging Parents When They Don’t Want Help

Promedcare | Fremont, Columbus, Norfolk, and Blair, Nebraska

Our goal is to keep you or your loved one healthy, happy, and safe at home. The Promedcare team of management and caregivers understands the importance of providing care within the comfort of one’s own home. Families choose Promedcare for different reasons. For some, it’s to provide extensive ongoing care for an aging senior. For others, we offer a much-needed break or, respite care – such as a night out with a spouse, vacation, or simply a few hours of quiet time at home – for family members who provide regular care. We offer a wide range of care services customized for each individual client. Promedcare services include Personal Care Services, Companion Care Services, Dementia / Alzheimer’s Care Services, and Respiratory Solutions.