Whether you’re caring for your elderly parents from a distance or you live right down the road, helping them remain independent and safe at home can be a daunting task.
This is especially true after you’ve provided care for awhile. (Because, burnout is a very real issue for caregivers.) It is equally true that being overwhelmed, either for you or your parent, will result in things getting missed, frustrations running high and relationships being stressed.
I’ve seen those things happen over the years. Here are two things I want every adult child to know about caring for their elderly parents. They can help stave that off, while making sure your parents get what they need to stay at home.
Taking care of elderly parents at home
Being realistic about how much care is necessary
In my experience, there are typically two groups of adult children who are caregivers:
- Those who underestimate how much work and time it will take to care for their parents.
- Those who don’t realize it as caregiving slowly takes more and more of their time.
Rarely is there a middle ground, at least not for primary caregivers. So, from where you and your parent are right now, you should work to understand what they need now and what they may need in the future.
Having a realistic expectation will help you plan your time and help you see when having help from a local professional makes sense.
Get extra help when you need it
We talked about being realistic about what it would take to care for your elderly parents. Here’s where you take action on that.
You can reduce stress and your workload by getting someone to come alongside you to support you. This could be in the form of coordinating respite care (you get time to yourself) to managing appointments to arranging transportation. (I can help you do all of those and more).
The financial reality
A person’s care can be expensive, even when a loved one is helping to provide it. It can (and, most likely, will) get to the point where your parent doesn’t have enough left (or enough available immediately), that you’ll have to chip in.
That isn’t a surprise to you if you’ve done it for awhile! You already know that you’ll spend a little here, help a little there and, before you know it, you’re racking up some serious money.
The thing you need to understand is that, though the ultimate goal is the absolute best care for your parents, money is going to come into play at some point.
Take the time as early as possible to talk about finances. And, begin talking with professionals in your community about how your parent can best protect themselves and their futures, financially.
Then, commit to working together as needed to find ways to save money and store it away for their future.