Getting older is a fact of life but there might come a time you are increasingly looking after elderly and unwell parents or relatives. This can feel like a big and daunting responsibility but there are many things you can do and measures you can put in place to ensure everyone flourishes and remains happy.
Consider care at home
Stop and think about how much help your parents need. Do your research regarding your options, so you are prepared for the challenges you face now and potentially in the future. You should also consider hiring a carer from an agency such as Care24Seven. This can be for a few hours a day, live-in care, or emergency cover when you are on holiday. Carers can offer specialist support for people with health problems, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, to ensure they stay as healthy and safe as possible.
Have their home adapted
Making adaptations to your parents’ home can make it easier for them to move around, so their home is a safer space to be. If your parents are struggling with everyday tasks, your local council will be able to do a free home assessment, where an occupational therapist will visit. Changes that may recommend may include lowering the kitchen worktop and make sure appliances can be reached; fitting a banister or stairlift on the stairs; or making adaptations in the bathroom, such as adding a grab rail to the bath or fitting a walk-in shower, so washing is easier.
Help them with their finances
Your parents may require some help with their finances and you will need to think about any medical care they might need and the cost involved in living situations, such as hiring carers to help. There are helpful resources from charities like Age UK about when and how to manage someone else’s money, from their day to day bills and claiming their pension, through to topics such as tax or estate planning. If you are worried about a parent losing the ability to manage their finances for the long-term, you can appoint a Power of Attorney, which will allow another person to make financial decisions on their behalf.
Make sure communication is easy
In order to stay safe, it is essential that your parents have an easy way to stay in touch with you and other friends and family and be able to call for help if they need it. Phones should be easy to use and to hand with pre-programmed numbers. There are also a number of personal alarms on the market, which allow people to call for assistance if they have an accident or fall over at home and are on their own.
Look after yourself
If you are spending a lot of your time caring for your parents, remember to not put your own needs last. Ensure that you sleep and eat well and ask for help if you need it. If you are struggling, talk to your GP, who will be able to offer advice and support.