How can I allow my mother to stay in her home? Dad needs help but I just can’t be there all the time. Sound familiar? Knowing what is best for your elderly parent’s changing care needs or knowing when to step in are both challenging issues. Below are some tips from certified Geriatric Care Managers to get you started.
Avoid role reversal. No matter how much your folks depend on you, you are not the parent. Treat your parents with respect and accept that they may make choices with which you disagree.
Don’t wait for a crisis. Decisions about what to do for an elderly parent are usually triggered by an emergency, such as a stroke or a fall, or a gradual loss of independence and personal safety. You and your parents can make more informed choices if you discuss long-term care options ahead of time.
Bring in help. A great option for families is to add part-time aide/companion services that can provide older adults assistance with daily living activities and companionship, giving them more time in the comfort and safety of their home. Non-medical, home care services include assistance with transportation and errands, medication reminders, meal preparation and light housekeeping.
Manage from afar. Elder care concerns are often more stressful and complicated if you live far away from an elderly parent. Gathering information, building a network of neighbors, friends, doctors, church and social contacts and staying connected with these resources are all critical to staying involved and “on top of things” for your out-of-town parent.
Consult an expert. A Geriatric Care Manager can help you with a thorough assessment of your loved one’s needs and direct you to the most effective resources. Visit www.caremanager.org to locate a professional near you.