How to keep parents at home for as long as possible
Many caregivers work so hard because they want to keep their older adults at home. We often hear people say “I promised my mom I’d never put her in a home” or “Dad told me he never wanted to live in one of those places.” Besides, assisted living is expensive!
As long as the situation is safe for everyone involved, keeping your senior at home is a wonderful thing to do. But caregiving is also one of the toughest and most stressful jobs you’ll ever have. That’s why it’s so easy for caregivers to get burned out or develop serious health conditions.
Pacing yourself so you’re not running at 110% every day helps you stay healthy so you can keep caring for your older adult. We have 5 tips to reduce the caregiving load and decrease your stress so you can keep your parents at home as long as possible.
1. Understand how much care is really needed
It’s possible that “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” When you’re busy doing various caregiving tasks, you don’t have a chance to think about the overall picture.
To see how much care your older adult really needs, make a list of all the things you’re doing. Is help needed during the day? At night? Is constant supervision needed?
An easy way to do this is to get a notepad and make quick notes when you do a task. After a few days, you’ll have a clear overview of what your senior needs help with and at what times of day.
2. Be realistic about the care you’re able to provide without harming your own health
Now you can evaluate the difference between the amount of care needed and the amount of care you can realistically provide without harming your own health. Most likely, there’s a mismatch – which is why you’re feeling so burned out.
3. Get extra caregiving help
A good way to reduce the workload and reduce stress is to get some extra help. Of course, this isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish or you would have done it already!
What’s important is to keep looking for different ways to save time and get tasks off your to do list. It may take some patience, effort, and creative thinking, but it will be worth it when you’re finally able to take regular breaks.
- Ask family members to commit to helping out on a regular schedule. This could be with caregiving or, if they’re not able to handle the personal care, chores, errands, finances, or insurance claims.
- Enroll your senior in an adult day program – socialization and care for them, much-needed rest for you
- Hire in-home caregiving help
- Find a volunteer senior companion program in your area
- Use a respite care service
- Automate as many errands as you can – anything that helps you save time and energy is worthwhile.
4. Share the caregiving responsibility
You might be doing such an amazing job that nobody thinks you need any help. If you have siblings or close relatives, ask if they’ll take on their share of responsibility so you can get a much-needed break.
Having family share responsibility could be anything from moving your mom to your sister’s house for a few years, taking turns with your brother every 3 months to live with dad, or having your sister stay at your house for a week every two months so you can get away.
If they’re willing to help, be creative and flexible. No solution will be perfect, but any help you can get will lessen the stressful workload for you.
Here are some helpful tips on how to ask family to help with caregiving.
5. Reduce financial pressure
Caring for an older adult is expensive and leads to a large financial burden. Reducing those caregiving costs helps decrease the amount of financial pressure and stress you’re under.
Find out about resources that:
- Help you save money on medical bills
- Reduce the cost of prescription drugs
- Find government programs that help pay for caregiving expenses
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Christian Family Eldercare