Caring For Parents: A Guideline For Adult Children

May 31, 2021 | BY PHS Staff

If you are the adult child of an aging parent who is increasingly in need of help at home, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Those feelings are completely natural as you navigate new beginnings with a parent that always was the one to care for you. Now the roles are reversed and you are finding yourself immersed in a situation you know little about.

Here is a helpful guide for adult children caring for their aging parents: how to get started, what to do, and how to coordinate care responsibilities with siblings. Of course, it also helps to have a professional caregiver on your side to fill in the gaps with senior home care in Gettysburg.

Things to Consider

First things first: you have to assess your parent’s current abilities to be able to determine the level of care they will need, advises Aging in Place. Some seniors are fairly independent but just need some help around the house with chores because they aren’t as mobile as they once were. Others need a bit more help than that, with dressing, bathing and eating. And still others, especially those who are progressing through Alzheimer’s disease, need constant attention for their health and safety, helping with medication reminders, meal prep and more.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

ADLs are those tasks that are essential to the dignity as well as physical and emotional well-being of your parent. They include:

  • Self-feeding
  • Functional mobility
  • Dressing
  • Bathing or showering
  • Personal hygiene
  • Toilet hygiene

Your parent may have impaired mobility and health issues that preclude them from completing the above tasks.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

Other types of activities are not necessarily fundamental, but are related to independent functioning because they contribute to quality of life, and those include:

  • Prepping and cooking meals
  • Household cleaning
  • Shopping
  • Running errands
  • Paying bills
  • Speaking or communicating with others on the phone, online, etc.
  • Taking medications on time and in the right amounts

In relation to the two types of tasks above, you should first conduct a needs assessment using this handy checklist. This will help you understand where everyone is at and be able to take the next step of getting appropriate help.

Communicate Your Concerns

The next step can be a difficult one when it comes to adult children talking with their aging parents about in-home care needs. It’s a delicate topic that should be approached with care, and how you go about it will depend on your family dynamic and what kind of relationship you have, says Aging Care.

Some families like to get everything out in the open and be frank about ongoing discussions, while other families tend to be more reserved and leery about approaching sensitive independent parents about change. If you have siblings, share this burden with them and speak with them first about how the topic will be broached.

Only you know how your parents may react, so take the time to voice your concerns in the most appropriate manner. For some, that involves holding several small conversations to ease into the change, while for others, this means holding one large family meeting to make concrete decisions. Whatever the case, you can’t avoid this conversation.

Ask your parent things like:

  • What kind of care would you feel comfortable with?
  • Do you wish to stay in your home to receive care?

Talk with your siblings privately about what level of commitment you can expect from them. Perhaps come up with a rudimentary schedule for all of you to rotate in and out. Just keep in mind, care needs can change quickly so you will have to revisit it frequently.

Find Caregiver Support

Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes because that’s where they feel the most comfortable. Once you have established their wishes, you can start researching in home care options that would fit them best.

Even if you and your siblings decide to take over most of the care, you simply can’t do it all, especially as time passes and your parent needs more and more care. You may find your new role of family caregiver extremely rewarding; however, everyone needs help at some point. This is why it’s wise to research elder care options now so you have them when you need them.

Remember, caregiver burnout is a very real thing and can have a big impact on your own physical and mental health.

Contact Preferred HealthStaff

Caring for your aging parents can be overwhelming at times. You need professional caregivers on your side who have training with in-home care in Gettysburg, who can step in to lend a hand when you can’t. To learn more about our senior care services, contact us toll free at 866-943-9791 or in Fairfield 717-642-8500.