When you are very young you think that your parents are invincible. As you get older you hear more and more stories of caring for elderly parents at home. Respecting their wishes and not caving into putting them into a care home is getting more common, its also the affordability factor as well.
In a couple of month’s, it will be one year since I lost my dad. My dad was an older parent, he had us later in life after he met my mum, who was his second wife. The older I got I realised that I wouldn’t have him around forever. I knew I wouldn’t have him around as long as my friends’ dads. But that didn’t matter. He was my dad and I treasured him. He looked after us extremely well and was very protective! He was 88 years old when he passed away and was always tough as an old boot until dreaded cancer got him. But he walked me down the aisle and saw me get married to my soul mate and got to spend lots of time with my eldest daughter.
Unfortunately, he passed away three days before my second daughter was born. Looking back now at his last few months, caring for him at home was the best thing for our family and his wishes. My mum and brother were his main carers, but being heavily pregnant at the time I helped out whenever I could.
Emotional Effects of Caring for an Elderly Parent
There are emotional effects of caring for an elderly parent. The biggest emotion is guilt. You may feel guilty for not being able to do enough or doing something wrong. This is common and try not to beat yourself up over it. Stress can be another factor in caring for elderly parents. It can start to feel burdensome if the care is needed for long periods of time.
Caring for a patient with dementia is more challenging than caring for a patient with physical disabilities. People with dementia typically require more supervision, are less likely to express gratitude for the help they receive and are more likely to be depressed. Luckily for us dad never had dementia, knowing him, he would have hated that, it was his worst nightmare! Near the end, he had physical disabilities and was extremely weak from cancer. We were unable to get him up the stairs, so we turned the front room into a bedroom space for him. For people who are struggling with the stairs, keep your independence with a stairlift.
Tips on Caring for Elderly Parents at Home
Here are some tips on caring for elderly parents at home. I want to share with you the realities, and what you can do to help everyone be more comfortable. To avoid caregiver’s burnout and limit your stress levels.
- The first thing I would suggest is to work how much care you need for your elderly parent. Do they need night time supervision as an example? My dad required this in the later stages and my mum had help from the Marie Curie nurses so she could get some sleep. It helped her very much.
- Be realistic on how much you can do. You need to keep your own physical and mental well being healthy to be there when you are needed the most. You can’t afford to get burnt out.
- Get help. It’s as simple as that. My brother was there to help my mum with his work shifts. He helped to lift dad, sat with him and organised the food shopping. You can ask other family members to help out, hire an outside carer for a few hours. Or use respite care if needed.
- Share the caregiving responsibility. Mum and my brother shared this. I helped out when I could. Working together as a team is the best way for everyone.
I hope you have found these points helpful in caring for elderly parents at home and please don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.
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