There comes a time when aging parents need help at home. It could be with medication reminders, household chores or even daily hygiene tasks. When this happens, it can be hard to navigate what to do when your elderly parents need help. This is especially true for those who are unable to meet the changing needs of their parents due to busy jobs, family life, distance or financial complications. It may even be they don’t have the disposition to be a caregiver or there are strained relationships getting in the way.

No matter the challenge, there are answers. To help, let’s break down the steps of what to do when your elderly parent needs care.

The Importance of Ongoing, Positive Conversations

Talking about sensitive issues surrounding aging is often difficult. From parents who are not forthcoming with information to the grimness of certain topics, there could be many things preventing honest communication. To work around this, experts recommend checking in regularly to go over your parents’ day-to-day lives and routinely asking if any help is needed at home.

Maintaining an ongoing conversation like this can be beneficial in many ways. Primarily, it helps assess the extent of care they currently need. It could also give a glimpse into areas where their level of independence is gradually declining. Another benefit is that next steps can be discussed in better times. Waiting until a severe illness or accident to determine someone’s wants and needs can add more stress to the situation. By outlining a plan, it could help alleviate additional strain during such periods of poor health.

Remember, sensitivity and compassion are important whenever discussing delicate topics. Maturing parents often feel overwhelmed when their health declines and they begin to lose independence. As such, children should approach the subjects of how to help and future care with kindness, patience and warmth. For particularly tense relationships, it can be constructive to bring in additional people they trust, such as another family member, a social worker from a health care facility or a friend of the family.

Care Options for Elderly Parents

Determining what to do when your elderly parent needs care requires a good understanding of the options. Appropriate care for an elderly parent may entail:

Assisted living

Are your parents generally healthy, but require help with daily living? If so, assisted living may be the next step. Designed to promote independence, these facilities strive to create a home-like setting and sense of community while providing different levels of care. Residents typically have access to shared common areas and a range of amenities depending on the community.

Additionally, residents are usually provided with prepared meals, housekeeping and some transportation services. Most importantly, assisted living communities generally have 24-hour on-site staff in case of accidents or emergencies. While costs vary, you can expect to pay more based on how much care your parent requires.

Providing At-Home Assistance

A similar option is to ensure their home is a safe place to live as they age through at-home assistance. The majority of older Americans prefer “aging in place,” which means getting to stay in a familiar setting by making certain adjustments. These often include home modifications, such as safety bars and ramps, as well as scheduling in-home care. There are varying levels of in-home care available depending on your parent’s specific needs including:

  • Companion care
  • Live-in care
  • Memory care
  • Overnight care
  • Respite care

Through these services, older adults may receive assistance with oral care, bathing, grooming, dressing, medication reminders, meal preparation, laundry, running errands, fall prevention and incontinence care.

Moving in With a Relative

Another option is to have an aging parent move in with you or another relative. A significant commitment, family caregiving such as this entails the financial, physical and emotional support of parents in your home. Considering the implications is key as is consulting with every family member who would be affected by the change. That way, an informed decision is made which reflects the concerns of your family and your parent(s). Furthermore, family caregivers must recognize the extent of aid required and feel confident they can provide it for their loved ones.

Senior Care Facility

More commonly known as a nursing home, this option is for when parents need a significant amount of care. For instance, if they feel confused and disorientated or experience frequent falls, a higher level of care is needed to keep them safe and well. If unsure this is the next step, a geriatric care professional can perform a whole-person assessment complete with pointers on what to do when your elderly parents need help and the level of help needed.

Reaching Out for Support

Knowing when to step in and offer help is difficult when it comes to aging parents. Hopefully, this breakdown has given you a better idea of what to do when your elderly parent needs care and the next step you should take.

You could also reach out to the professionals for further guidance. At Custom Home Care, we can help by answering questions and going over the home care services we offer to seniors throughout Chicago and Chicagoland.