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Caring For Elderly Parents

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As your parents age, they’ll likely require some kind of assistance to foster their health, safety, and overall well-being. While some individuals may be reluctant to accept help, it’s important to talk to your parents about your concerns and help them understand their options.

For instance, your parents may immediately assume they have to go into a nursing home—but that simply isn’t true. There are many options when it comes to caring for your elderly parents, from family caregiving and assisted living communities to comprehensive in-home care. The guide below defines each of your options and weighs the pros and cons of each one to help you make the best decision for your family. 

Many people decide that the most beneficial option is to age in place. If that’s the case for you and your parents, LightSpring is here to empower your parents to thrive at home. Our home care services include everything from medication reminders and assistance with bathing to meal preparation and transportation. Contact us today for more information about how we can support your parent’s care needs.

What to Consider When Thinking About Family Caregiving

Many adult children consider caring for their senior parents themselves to ensure their parents are receiving the best possible care. Family caregiving is also the most financially feasible option because you don’t have to pay someone to care for your parents—in fact, you can receive payment for taking care of loved ones under certain circumstances.

However, before you make such a significant decision, it’s important to weigh all the factors that go into providing long-term care to your parents. Below is a list of things to consider before you make your final decision. 

Living Arrangements

Where your parents live will inform every other decision you make about their care and well-being. Many seniors want to age in place, so they can enjoy familiar surroundings and retain some independence. This may be possible if your parent only needs a few hours of help per day or if you’re willing to reside with them while providing care. 

Alternatively, if your parents have high care needs, it may be better to move them into your home. They’ll still be in a familiar place and be able to maintain connections with friends and family. 

When considering this option, you’ll need to assess your home to see if you have the space for your parents to live with you. Additionally, you should consider whether your home is accessible and safe for your parents or if it will need upgrades like ramps or stair lifts—and whether you can afford to make these changes. 

Supervision & Safety Hazards

No matter where your parents live, you’ll need to assess their environment for safety hazards, such as blocked walkways. You may also consider adding safety upgrades to their environment, like shower grab bars and a chair lift to help them navigate stairs. 

It’s also important to consider how much supervision your parents need. Some individuals need more assistance than others when moving from room to room, preparing meals, etc. If your parents require assistance with every task, you’ll want to be sure someone is always available to help them. 

If you’re unable to provide the level of assistance your parents need because you have to work or care for your children, you may want to consider scheduling care with an agency. Even just a few hours a day of respite care from an agency like LightSpring Care can provide the time you need to reset so you can continue caring for your parents. 

Activities of Daily Living

How much assistance does your parent need with the activities of daily living? Can they get dressed on their own? Do they need assistance showering or bathing? Do they require personal care when using the bathroom? 

Some parents may not be comfortable with their adult children helping them perform these tasks. If you decide to care for your parents yourself, you should discuss these kinds of needs with them and determine how to help them while preserving their autonomy and dignity as much as possible. 

Memory-Related Disorders

The onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can make it hazardous for your parents to live alone. However, these conditions also make it jarring for a person to change environments. If you plan to move your parents in with you while you care for them, try to move them early on. Attempting to move them later, when their memory is worse, could cause them to panic or deteriorate faster.

Additionally, caring for someone with a memory-related condition takes a lot of time and energy. As your parent’s condition worsens, they may display personality changes or behaviors that are emotionally challenging for you to handle. In these cases, it may be best to schedule at least a few hours a week of home care so you have some time to decompress.

Other Options For Elderly Parents

If your parents require more care than you’re able to provide or you don’t want to care for your elderly parents, there are other options you can explore to ensure they have the assistance they need to remain healthy and safe. Many of these options are listed below. 

Home Care

Home care allows your parents to reside in their own home while receiving care from a team of professional caregivers. Many families choose this option because it allows their elderly parents to age in place and enjoy all the benefits that come with remaining at home. 

Different agencies provide different services, such as non-medical and medical home care. What your parents need depends on their health and abilities.

Non-Medical Care

When receiving non-medical home care, caregivers typically provide care in shifts up to 44 hours per week and will help your parents with everything from bathing and dressing to meal preparation, transportation, and medication reminders. Non-medical caregivers can also suggest ways to make the home safer and easier to navigate for your parents. 

Non-medical home care agencies like LightSpring also typically offer comprehensive services, such as live-in care and 24-hour care for those who require continuous supervision. They may also offer in-home memory care, which includes safety supervision and assistance with nutrition and hydration. 

Medical Care

In-home medical care is imparted by nurses and other medical professionals qualified to administer medications, provide wound care, and assist with post-op recovery. 

Though medical care is typically more expensive than non-medical care, you can offset the expense by scheduling just a few hours a week of medical care and scheduling a non-medical caregiver to help your parents the rest of the time. 

Nursing Home

Nursing homes can be a viable option for senior parents who require continuous, ‘round-the-clock care. In a nursing home, they’ll have continuous access to medical assistance, reside in a place with safety precautions built-in, and won’t have to worry about preparing food or tidying up. 

However, many seniors resist going into a nursing home because they fear they’ll become too sedentary, lose connection with their friends and family, and have less privacy and independence. Nursing homes also can’t guarantee your parents will receive individualized care and attention. 

Assisted Living

Assisted living communities may be a good compromise between aging in place and going to a nursing home. These communities provide private spaces to their residents so that they can have privacy. However, they also have access to transportation, a shared cafeteria, and planned activities. There’s also always staff on hand to help with medical needs and personal care. 

The downside is that these communities can’t be there for your parents 24/7. If your parents require overnight monitoring, home care may be a better option. 

How to Choose Between Care Options

There are pros and cons to each available care option. When choosing which one is best for your aging parents, it’s important to consider your family’s situation and which option will benefit them the most. 

Below is a list of some of the most important factors to consider when weighing your options. 

Assess Your Parent’s Needs

What kind of care you choose for your parents depends on their specific needs. For instance, someone in the later stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s may benefit most from in-home care so they can find comfort in familiar surroundings. Care providers like LightSpring can provide caregivers experienced in providing memory care who can help keep your parents healthy, clean, and safe. 

Consider Your Schedule

When you first begin caring for your aging loved one, they may require just a little mobility assistance, such as help up the stairs or getting in and out of bed. However, as people age, they frequently experience more physical limitations, which may be challenging to keep up with, depending on your physical condition. 

If you need assistance, in-home respite care can fill in the gaps while you take time for yourself, work, or care for your children. This may also be a favorable alternative if your loved one has a strong desire to age in place. 

Understand Your Financial Capabilities

Depending on your financial situation, home care may be a more viable option than assisted living or a nursing home. In New Jersey, nursing homes generally cost about $90,000 per year, while assisted living costs around $86,450 per year. 

Conversely, a standard 44 hours a week of non-medical home care in New Jersey typically costs between $66,352 and $75,504 per year. While medical home care is usually more expensive than non-medical home care, many people offset the extra cost by scheduling just a few hours of medical care per week and filling in the rest of their loved one’s needs with non-medical home care. 

Consider Your Physical Abilities

When you first begin caring for your aging loved one, they may require just a little mobility assistance, such as help up the stairs or getting in and out of bed. However, as people age they frequently experience more physical limitations, which may be challenging to keep up with, depending on your physical condition. 

Even if you’re in peak physical condition, it can be exhausting to assist someone else every day with things like getting out of bed, transferring into a wheelchair, and dressing. Consider your own physical limitations and need for rest to help you decide whether you can care for your loved one yourself or whether you should schedule in-home caregivers to help you.

Get Compassionate Home Care From LightSpring

Does your parent want to age in place but needs assistance to make that desire a reality? LightSpring is here to help. Our professional caregivers can be with your loved one early in the morning, late at night, or 24/7 to provide the assistance they need to remain safe and independent. 

With a diverse array of home care services and highly qualified, fully insured caregivers, LightSpring is many families’ first choice for helping their loved ones thrive at home. Contact us today for more information about our home care services. 

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