There comes a time in life when the relationship you have with your parents may start to take on a kind of role reversal. As they get older, less mobile, and possibly suffer from a variety of different health issues all of a sudden you could find yourself in the role of caregiver, which neither of you are used to. It may reach a point where the best solution for your aging parent is for them to go into a care home, where you know they will be looked after properly. However, until that time comes it’s important to make sure their current living situation is closely monitored and the house is adapted, in order for them to stay in their own home for as long as they possibly can.
With this in mind, we have put together some advice to help you achieve this.
The most important factor concerning whether your aging parent should continue living on their own at home is whether it is safe to do so. And there are two questions to ask yourself here:
- Are they capable of looking after themselves?
- Is the house suitable for their changing needs?
So let’s try and answer the first question first. If your parent suffers from dementia, lapses of memory etc. you need to establish firstly how bad it is and secondly how detrimental this could be to their day to day life. For example, if they take medication is their memory so bad that they may forget to take their pills, or even worse risk a potential overdose because they have forgotten they’ve already taken them.
And of course it’s not just declining mental health that could cause problems, there is also the issue of reduced mobility and restricted physical health that come into play too and this is where the second question needs to be thought about.
There are lots of changes and additions that can be made to the home to help better equip your aging parent and their changing needs. For example if they struggle to walk up the stairs you might want to consider installing a stair lift or a home lift to make it easier for them and to also reduce the risk of falls. If you’re concerned about whether there is enough space for these types of mobility aids be sure to take measurements beforehand by either renting a laser precision measuring tool from places such as https://horizonmeasurements.com/ or by asking the company whether they can take measurements for you.
Grab rails are a great addition to bathrooms, especially in the shower and by the bath and toilet as these are the areas that get slippy and where movement is required. You might also want to consider having a personal safety alarm fitted so that should your aging parent have a fall they are able to alert someone and get help as quickly as possible. It’s these small alterations that help give peace of mind not just to you, but also to your parent, as it allows them to keep their independence and to remain in their own home.
Show Them You Care
Admitting you need help is the hardest thing, especially when it feels as though you are no longer able to take care of yourself in the way that you have previously. As such it is a sensitive subject and one that may cause tension between you and your parent if it is not approached in the right manner. It is important you sit down and have a conversation about this and make it clear that you want to help. Be respectful and don’t talk down to them, they are an adult and your parent more to the point, and they still have every right to make decisions about the way they live their life.
Ultimately, you both want the same outcome; for them to be able to stay at home and live independently, but some compromises will need to be made. Show them how much you care by giving them a gift that unites you both, that shows them you are in this together. A handmade bracelet from Givingbracelets.com would link you together, and it is something you can both look down at when you’re apart and know that you are both looking out for each other. The child/parent bond is one of the strongest relationships we as humans have and it doesn’t need to change as your parent gets older and as life situations change.
Talk About The Future
Obviously the crucial thing at first is to make sure your parent’s current situation is right for them, that their home is safe, they have all the right safety equipment in place, and that they feel comfortable and at ease. But what’s just as important, and perhaps if not more so, is to think about what will happen in the future. None of us like to think about it, but the aging process cannot be stopped, no matter what any top cosmetic surgeon might tell you. Health deteriorates and we all reach a point where more help is needed, so it is important to have this conversation and to make future plans.
Sit down with your parent and write down what they would like to happen. There may come a time where you are no longer able to have this kind of talk with them and it is essential you try to respect as many of their wishes as possible. By having it written down somewhere, you can both refer back to it when the time inevitably comes and feel confident and relaxed about knowing this was what they wanted.
Watching your parent get older and seeing them become less and less able is not nice for anyone. You can make the process a whole lot easier by being prepared and hopefully this article will have helped you start to think about what you should do when that time comes.