According to the National Council on Aging, adult children are increasingly providing care for their aging parents. More than 43 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult over the age of 50. Caring for elderly parents can be overwhelming and requires significant time and effort.
There are several challenges that caregivers face when taking care of elderly parents. First is the emotional stress of providing care for a loved one. Feelings of guilt or frustration can compound this if the parent is resistant to help or becomes combative. Caregivers must also deal with the physical demands of providing care, including tasks such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. They may also need to manage medication schedules and coordinate appointments with doctors. Finally, caregivers often find themselves responsible for managing the parent’s finances and handling critical legal documents.
Challenges of Caring for Elderly Parents
All of these responsibilities can be taxing both physically and emotionally. Caregivers often face significant challenges in juggling work, family obligations, and elder care responsibilities. AARP study shows that more than 60% of caregivers report feeling overwhelmed or stressed due to their caregiving duties. And nearly half of all caregivers say that their elder care responsibilities have caused them to reduce the amount of time spent with their friends and family members.
Despite these challenges, most caregivers feel that caring for their elderly parents is essential and worthwhile. A survey by AARP found that 92% of caregivers feel optimistic about their role in helping their parents age at home safely and comfortably. And nearly 80% say that supporting their parents to stay healthy and independent is more important than anything else.
Taking care of elderly parents can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Caregivers should take the time to assess their abilities and resources before taking on this responsibility, but most importantly should remember that they are not alone in this journey. Here are a few tips from people in the same situation as you.
Make it a Family Duty
When one family member gets tasked with caring for an elderly parent, the responsibilities can quickly become overwhelming. The caregiving process becomes more manageable by dividing the duties among all available household members. This also gives each person a sense of responsibility and ownership in the care process.
Some ways to divide the duties include:
- One person is responsible for managing the parent’s finances and legal documents.
- Another person is responsible for handling appointments with doctors and coordinating medication schedules.
- One person is responsible for bathing, dressing, and feeding the parent.
- Another person is responsible for providing emotional support and helping with household tasks such as laundry and grocery shopping.
By splitting up the responsibilities, each family member can feel empowered to take an active role in helping their loved one age at home safely and comfortably.
It can be heartbreaking for caregivers to see their elderly parents decline in health. It’s important to remember that even though the aging process is inevitable, many things can still get done to slow down the effects of aging.
Some ways to stay optimistic include:
- Focus on the positive aspects of caregiving, such as the opportunity to spend more time with your parent and create new memories together.
- Keep a sense of humor and look for funny moments during caregiving.
- Remember that every day is new and brings new challenges and opportunities.
Staying positive can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that your attitude will significantly impact your well-being and the quality of care you provide.
Remain on Top of Medications and Appointments
Caregivers need to stay on top of their parent’s medications and appointments. This responsibility can be daunting, but there are a few ways to make it more manageable.
Some tips for staying on top of medications and appointments include:
- Keep a list of all medicines in a central location, such as on the refrigerator door.
- Set up medication reminders using a phone app or calendar alert.
- Make sure to schedule follow-up appointments after each doctor’s visit.
- If possible, try to schedule all appointments in one day to make fewer trips.
By staying organized and taking proactive steps, you can ensure that your parent stays on top of their health and receives the best possible care. Fortunately, you can download an app to help you.
Find a Nursing Home
If you’re struggling to care for your elderly parent at home, it may be time to consider a nursing home. Nursing homes provide 24/7 support, care, and assistance with daily living activities.
When choosing a nursing home, it’s essential to visit several facilities and ask many questions. Some things you may want to consider include:
- The quality of care: Make sure to tour the facility and observe how the staff interacts with residents.
- The cost: Nursing home care can be expensive, so understand the costs associated with each facility.
- The location: If possible, choose a nursing home close to family and friends. This way, loved ones can easily visit and offer support.
Finding a high-quality assisted living facility can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are many resources available to help you through this process.
Caring for elderly parents can be a rewarding but challenging experience. By taking the time to understand your parent’s needs and developing a caregiving plan, you can ensure that your loved one receives the best possible care.