Caring for aging parents: You're not alone
Updated: Jan 27
As family roles reverse, many difficult challenges arise. You’re suddenly faced with the responsibilities of caregiving for your aging parent and likely have no idea where to start. You know what your loving family member needs but are unsure as to how to provide exactly that. You are not alone.
Many adult children struggle with the challenges and responsibilities of caring for an aging parent. To help you better understand how to care for aging parents, we’ve created a list of caregiving tips that’ll ensure optimal care and a quality experience for both you and your aging parent.
Don’t quit your job without careful consideration
Trying to juggle the tasks of caring for your aging parent on top of maintaining a career can be exhausting. However, it’s important to never quit your job without careful consideration. While it may seem like the right choice for the time being, it’s imperative to think long-term.
Thoroughly consider the effects quitting your job will have on your benefit and retirement plan, and chances of employment in the future. If quitting your job isn’t ideal, there are many short-term and long-term senior care options available that’ll allow you to work, while also ensuring optimal care for your family member.
Make a caregiving budget
As you being to care for your aging parent, it’s important to establish a budget to avoid any financial discrepancies in the future. You want to ensure that there’s enough money for comprehensive care for your loved one for as long as they need it. So, determine where the money is going, and how much it’ll cost to care for them in and out of the house. Then, you can explore the different resources available to help you better allocate the funds without the risk of financial consequences in the future.
Take advantage of free or low-cost resources and senior activities
Speaking of finances, there are several options available that’ll help you save money without sacrificing the quality of senior care your loved one receives. With a bit of research, you’ll find plenty of free or low-cost senior activity centers, events, and resources available across Texas, which will help manage the costs of caregiving.
Analyze the costs of keeping your aging parent in their home
Your aging parent is likely adamant about staying in their own home but this isn’t always the safest or most affordable option. Discuss the pros and cons of both in-home care and senior residential care. If it’s the best option to place your loved one in residential senior care, highlight the benefits of doing so.
For example, at 4 Seasons Senior Care, your parent will have their own room which they can decorate to their liking for an optimal, dignified living. Senior care has come a long way and educating your parent on the changes can make the choice and transition easier on the both of you.
Evaluate the benefit of receiving professional help
As the child of an aging parent, you feel responsible for taking care of the family. However, you don’t have to do it on your own. There are many options available that’ll allow your aging parent to receive the meticulous care they require from a highly-qualified professional. It takes a certain set of skills, patience, and understanding to provide optimal care, and oftentimes, it’s best to leave the caregiving to the professional. You may feel guilty for handing the duties over to a caregiver but it’s likely the better option for your parent.
Discuss legalities with your aging parent
It’s important to understand what your parent wants, should they be unable to make decisions on their own in the future or if they were to pass away. While the conversation may be uncomfortable for both of you – as no one wants to discuss the ‘what ifs’ – it’s imperative to have a thorough understanding of your parent’s desires. This will give you confidence in making decisions on their behalf, as you’re already well aware of what they want and can act in their best interest.
Recognize the warning signs that indicate a need for long-term senior care
Lastly, it’s important to recognize the warning signs that it’s time for your aging parent to enter a long-term senior care facility. Although your parent may insist on staying in their own home, it could be unsafe for them to do so. So, recognize the signs and know when it’s time to make the transition into senior residential care. Things such as drastic weight loss, injuries, and excessive confusion are all warning signs to pay attention to.
Being a family caregiver will come with many challenges, mishaps, and responsibilities. It’s important to recognize that there are many other quality senior living care options available to help you manage the daily tasks of an aging parent. You don’t have to do this alone.