April 21, 2010
Caring for the Elderly may be your lot if your parents don’t pass away young. At some point, you are going to begin helping them with the everyday affairs of life.
Your involvement may escalate as they grow older and have more needs. You may find yourself a full-fledged caregiver for one or both of your parents if they reach a time that they cannot live independently.
However, as they age, you may have to step in and make a few minor changes in their living environment so they will feel safe and comfortable. It’s wonderful to see parents grow old together and still have the opportunity to live in their own home.
1. If at all possible, create their living space on one level. Stairs can be difficult to climb as well as a hazard for an elderly person. It may even require a bit of remodeling to make sure the kitchen, living area, bedroom and bath are on the same level. A laundry room must also be provided on the same floor.
2. Reorganize drawers and cupboards so your parents will be able to find what they need easily. Placing dishes, linens, and important appliances at eye level will eliminated the need for them to stand on a stool to reach them.
3. Services like shopping, house cleaning, simple repairs can be handled by outside services that are set up for helping the elderly. However, if they cost a bit more than your folks can afford, you may be the one taking on these responsibilities. Set up a schedule for these needs to be handled that will be convenient for you both of you.
4. If your parents can be responsible to take their medications correctly, by all means let them do it. However, if they need to be monitored, medications can be given by home health care professional who will drop in once a day to administer them.
5. If necessary, put grab bars in the bathtub, and other places where your folks may need additional support. Also, make sure they have enough light so they will have plenty of visibility.
With a little planning, you can help your folks keep their independence in their own home. This will allow you to slowly ease into care giving before extensive care is needed in the future.
P.S. My mom just turned 90 and is needing full time care. I’m grateful to have 3 sisters that share in the care giving responsibilities.