Many older adults have a strong desire to age in a familiar place—which is both a reasonable and challenging thing to want. Though living independently offers a number of benefits, mobility and cognitive issues from arthritis and other age-related conditions make it more difficult for aging parents or other aging family members to care for themselves, which can endanger their safety.
In these cases, many adult children opt to have their aging parents live with them, rather than in a nursing home. This arrangement ensures your loved one receives the care they need while maintaining social connections and retaining independence. The guide below offers tips to help you if you’re taking care of an elderly loved one in their home.
Are you considering being a family caregiver for your elderly parents or loved one? LightSpring Home Care is a trusted name in non-medical home care throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Whether you need mobility assistance, medication reminders, personal care, or continuous monitoring, our caregivers are ready to help.
1. Evaluate Your Capabilities to Provide Care
Before making the decision to care for your aging loved one, it’s a good idea to assess how much care they’ll need, and what you’ll be able to provide. For instance, if your loved one is fairly independent and just needs a little help bathing and grooming, it may be easy for you to assist them while completing your other responsibilities like work and errands.
However, if they require assistance throughout the day or overnight, it may be challenging for you to meet their needs without overburdening your schedule. Caring for an elderly parent or family member in your own home is a very active role that poses significant physical and financial challenges. The cost of medication, mobility aids, and extra groceries can add up over time. Your elderly parents or loved one may also need assistance getting out of bed and navigating stairs. It’s important to evaluate whether you have the physical capability to support them.
In these situations, professional in-home senior care may be the perfect solution. For instance, LightSpring Home Care’s caregivers can be with your family member while you’re at work or resting overnight so both of you can be comfortable and healthy.
2. Make Your Home Safe and Accessible
Once you’ve determined caring for your family members or loved ones at home is the best way to support them, the next step is to prepare your home for their safety. If your elderly loved one has mobility issues or uses a wheelchair, you’ll need to remove tripping hazards—like loose rugs—and possibly install wheelchair ramps.
Other beneficial home modifications include shower grab bars, shower chairs, a handicap-accessible bed, and a chair lift for homes with more than one story.
3. Keep Your Loved One Active (Mentally and Physically)
Isolation and mental stagnation can lead to greater issues, such as anxiety, depression, or even worsening an existing condition. Ensuring your elderly parent or loved one has plenty of enrichment will improve their mood, give them energy, and help them maintain a sense of purpose and belonging.
A few ways to keep your family member active and healthy include:
- Adding regular walks and other exercises to their routine
- Enrolling them in a day program, so they can socialize
- Providing activities they enjoy—e.g., puzzles, crosswords, etc.
- Inviting friends and family to visit your home
- Planning outings and new experiences (if possible)
4. Make Easy-To-Cook Meals
While nutrition is extremely important to maintaining your loved one’s health, preparing meals from scratch every day may not be a realistic expectation.
Between being a family caregiver and fulfilling your other responsibilities, it may be best to rely on a handful of tasty, easy-to-prepare, nutritious meals rather than trying to plan a diverse menu every week. This will simplify prep and grocery shopping to lighten your load of responsibility. Another benefit to keeping meals simple is that your elderly loved one may be able to help prepare them and feel as though they’re contributing to the household.
Another option may be to subscribe to a ready-made meal delivery service. These services often cater to many different eating styles and dietary needs, so your senior loved one will get the right balance of nutrients.
5. Ensure Social Inclusion and Companionship
If your aging loved one has mobility challenges or is unable to drive, they may find themselves isolated at home. Humans need social interaction to foster good mental and emotional health, so it’s important to help your loved one maintain a social life.
Possibly the easiest way to do this is to not only spend time with them but ensure they’re able to attend as many family functions as possible. You can also schedule visits with friends and family or enroll them in an adult day care program with others their own age, or arrange transportation to things like church events.
If your family member has poor mobility or a chronic condition that makes it hard to leave the house, in-home companion care is also an option. LightSpring Home Care’s caregivers are experienced in providing compassionate companion care to stave off loneliness and ensure your loved one’s well-being. We’ll keep them company, provide personal care as needed, and enjoy their favorite hobbies with them.
6. Keep Your Care Person-Centered
Person-centered care enables you to shift and adjust your care techniques as needed to meet your loved one’s needs. For instance, if they dislike bathing in the shower, you can shift to helping them bathe at the sink.
It’s also about maintaining as much of your loved one’s autonomy as possible. Little things like choosing what they wear, when they have meals, and what activities they do during the day can go a long way toward helping them feel like they’re in control.
7. Find a Respite Care Provider
Family caregivers are at a high risk for burnout and resulting conditions, like depression. In an effort to meet your loved one’s needs, it’s easy to neglect your own well-being. However, caring for yourself is the best way to ensure you can continue caring for your loved one.
That’s where respite care comes in. Many home care agencies—including LightSpring Home Care—offer supplemental care services so you can take care of your own health without neglecting the care your loved one needs. You can schedule these services for several hours every day, for specific days of the week, or even overnight so you can rest more easily.
8. Plan For When You Can No Longer Provide Care
Whether your loved one has a chronic condition, or is simply nearing end of life, a time will come when you no longer have the skills and resources to care for them yourself. When this time comes, your loved one will likely require a combination of medical and non-medical home care to keep them as comfortable as possible.
Planning for this care in advance will save you a lot of time and stress because you’ll have the chance to research agencies and source anything your loved one may need, such as a hospital bed. That way, as home care falls to professional caregivers, you’ll have more time to spend with your loved one.
Get Professional Help From a Licensed Caregiver at LightSpring Home Care
Taking care of a loved one at home presents many challenges—from a substantial time commitment to significant physical and mental effort. Home care is an excellent way to enable your loved one to retain their independence and remain close to friends and family without compromising their safety.
Our caregivers can be there to ensure their health, safety, and overall well-being while they enjoy their golden years in the comfort of home—and you retain the time and energy to work, socialize, and enjoy your favorite hobbies.
Our services include everything from personal care and fall prevention to light housekeeping and 24-hour safety supervision. We’ll collaborate with you to create a home care plan tailored to your loved one’s specific needs and schedule.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take care of your elderly loved one in your own home.