How to Care for an Elderly Parent at Home

Aging is a natural part of life, but it can be difficult to deal with. As your parents age, you’ll have a growing responsibility towards them. A lot of elderly people prefer to stay at home by themselves, or with their children and grandchildren. Staying in an old age home doesn’t provide elderly persons with the same sense of belonging as staying with loved ones. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance your elderly parent suffers from a health condition that makes home care challenging. So, how can you care for an elderly parent at home? There are various things you can do to make home care more accessible.

Can Elderly Parents Live Alone?

Not everyone has a good relationship with their parents. Regardless, everyone has a responsibility to care for elderly parents who raised them. Although you should make sure that the care your parent receives involves the necessary medical care, your elderly parent doesn’t have to stay with you if you don’t want them to.

That said, even if your parents don’t stay with you, they can still stay at home on their own. Try to find them an apartment or home close to where you live. Make sure that the place you choose is safe for elderly persons.

Things like steps, for instance, pose a tripping hazard for elderly people. Also try to find a place that won’t require a lot of maintenance. A place that’s small enough to navigate easily, but large enough to be comfortable is best. Avoid getting a place with a large garden, as your elderly parents are unlikely to be able to mow the lawn by themselves.

Having your elderly parents close by is ideal. However, even if your parents stay far away, there are ways to make home care for the elderly work for your family.

How to Make a Home Suitable for the Elderly

How to make a home suitable for elderly parents will depend on your situation. As mentioned before, maintenance is an important consideration for elderly people staying alone. Hence, a small garden (or none at all) and a small residence is best.

There are some guidelines for a proper home layout for the elderly that are always good. Regardless of whether they stay by themselves or not. Here are some ways to make sure your elderly parents stay in a suitable home:

  • Install handicap rails in the bathroom by the toilet and in the shower
  • Consider installing a shower rather than bath and fit it with an appropriate seat
  • Avoid using slippery floor finishes (such as smooth, glossy tiles) anywhere in the home
  • Be sure no area of the property has a step
  • Layout the space in a way that allows a wheelchair or walking rail to fit through easily

Once you have a suitable space to care for your elderly parent at home, you can look into ways to make home care possible.

How to Care for an Elderly Parent at Home

Perhaps the most challenging part of caring for an elderly person at home is health care. Some elderly persons are quite healthy and able to take care of themselves, but not all.

Eventually age becomes a big factor for all elderly people, though. Most elderly people reach a stage where they’re unable to live completely independently. Although placing your parents in an old age home might seem like the only way to ensure they get the care they need, there are other options.

If you’re planning for your elderly parent to stay in your home, you can teach yourself how to care for them. Caring for an elderly parent at home is a substantial commitment. It’s not something that’s going to be easy. To begin with, you must manage your expectations and prepare yourself emotionally:

  • Be understanding towards the situation of your parent: Children who care for elderly parents often find it frustrating. As the caregivers, the children tend to make choices on behalf of their aged parents. In an attempt to ascertain their individuality and independence, the parents often retaliate by resisting the choices their children make on their behalf. Understand that your parents have always been in a position of authority and leadership over you. It’s not easy for a parent to feel like they have reversed roles with their children. Like any other individual, an old person wants to feel a sense of pride in themselves and losing independence isn’t easy.
  • Help your parent throughout the transition: As mentioned above, elderly parents can react very negatively to losing independence and autonomy. Help to boost their confidence by asking their advice about choices and allowing them as much freedom as possible.
  • Keep your lives separate where possible: It’s hard to live your life separately from your parent when they stay with you but doing so will put less stress on your relationship. A good way to keep your lives somewhat separate, is to give your parents their own space, such as a flatlet on your property.

Although preparing yourself emotionally might not seem like your biggest concern, taking care of your elderly parent will be a big adjustment – both for you and your parent.

How to Care for an Elderly Parent’s Health

When it comes to caring for an elderly parent at home, health care is one of the biggest obstacles most families face. You can prepare yourself emotionally. You can even learn some basics of caring for the elderly, but it still won’t make you a qualified health care provider.

The good news is that home health care options exist to make home care easier for your family. Various home health care services exist to help elderly people live functional lives at home. The services your family requires will depend on the current health of your elderly parent. Some popular home health care options for the elderly include:

  • Nursing: At home nurses are qualified registered or licensed practical nurses. This means the nursing care your parent receives at home should be equivalent to what they’d get in a hospital.
  • Health aides: Health aides aren’t nurses and don’t perform medical work. Instead, health aides are trained to assist patients with day-to-day activities such as dressing and cooking. They also keep patients company and provide necessary emotional support to combat loneliness.
  • Therapists: There are different kinds of therapists that can assist your elderly parent at home. Whether your parent needs physical therapy after surgery, or occupational therapy to recover from a stroke, home health care is an affordable and convenient option for your loved ones.

All home health care providers are trained and qualified in their profession. This means you don’t have to worry about the quality of care your parent will receive.

Why Choose Home Health Care?

Health care at home provides a relaxed environment for your parent. Living in a stress-free environment is especially important for patients recovering from surgeries or strokes. Stress has an overall negative impact on health and wellness. Lower stress will also improve the quality of life your elderly parent can enjoy.

Next time your elderly parent is admitted to hospital, talk to your doctor about home health care options. You might find that your parent can be discharged much sooner if you make use of a home health care service during the recovery period.

Another advantage of home health care is that health aides can assist the elderly on an ongoing basis — not just during recovery. You can hire a home health care service to take care of your elderly loved one every day, even if you live far apart. This makes it possible for elderly persons to live by themselves in the comfort of their own homes.

At its core, home health care aims to help patients enjoy a better quality of life, live more independently and feel cared for.

Rozanne WildsHow to Care for an Elderly Parent at Home