How to choose the best elder care for your parents?
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As I approached my mid-30s, I began to realize that my parents were getting older and might need some extra help in the near future. My dad had always been the primary caregiver for my mom, who had multiple chronic health conditions, and I could see the strain it was putting on him.
I started to think about what kind of elder care my parents might need and how I could help them get it. I knew that my mom would need more hands-on care than my dad, so I started looking into in-home care options. I also talked to my siblings and other family members to get their input and make sure we were all on the same page.
After researching different in-home care agencies and visiting a few in person, we decided on one that seemed like a good fit. The caregivers were kind, patient, and competent, and my mom seemed to really enjoy their company. My dad was still able to handle most of the day-to-day tasks, but he was grateful to have some extra help and a little bit of a break.
It wasn’t an easy decision, but I’m grateful that we were able to find a solution that allows my parents to age in place and maintain some independence while also getting the care and support they need. It’s been a huge relief for me and my siblings, and I know it’s made a big difference for my parents as well.
Going through this process opened up my eyes to the choices that were available and the steps needed to ensure my parents were getting the best elder care for their situation.
In this guide, I walk you through what we did to make the right decision.
Steps for choosing the best elder care for your parents
Assess your parents’ needs
Assessing your parent’s needs is an important step in deciding on home care. Here are some things to consider:
What physical tasks does your parent need help with? This might include bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting.
Does your parent have any medical conditions that require special attention or care? This might include administering medications, monitoring vital signs, or providing wound care.
Is your parent able to make decisions and communicate their needs effectively? If not, they may need more hands-on care and supervision.
Does your parent prefer to be independent and do things for themselves, or are they more comfortable with someone assisting them?
Does your parent enjoy socializing and being around other people, or do they prefer to be alone?
Is your parent at risk of falling or experiencing other accidents in the home?
Consider these factors when deciding on home care to ensure that your parent’s needs are met and they are able to age in place safely and comfortably.
Think about your own needs and abilities
It’s important to also consider your own needs and abilities when deciding on elder care for your parents. Here are some things to think about:
How much time can you realistically devote to caring for your parents? If you have a full-time job or other time commitments, it might not be feasible for you to provide all of the care your parents need.
Do you have the necessary skills and knowledge to provide the care your parents need? For example, if your parent has a medical condition that requires special care, do you have the training to provide it?
Caring for an aging parent can be emotionally demanding. Are you ready to take on this role, or do you need some additional support?
Can you afford to pay for the care your parents need? It’s important to consider your budget and what type of care you can realistically afford.
By considering your own needs and abilities, you can make a more informed decision about the type of care that is best for your parents and for you. It’s okay to ask for help if you need it, and there are many resources available to support caregivers.
Include your parent in the process
It’s important to include your parent in the process of choosing elder care for them as much as possible. Not only is it respectful to their autonomy and decision-making abilities, but it also helps ensure that their needs and preferences are taken into account. Here are some ways to include your parent in the process:
Involve them in the decision-making
Ask your parent what type of care they would prefer and what is most important to them.
Encourage them to be active participants
Encourage your parent to visit potential care facilities and meet with caregivers. This can help them feel more comfortable with the decision and give them a better sense of what to expect.
Respect their wishes
If your parent has strong feelings about what type of care they do or doesn’t want, it’s important to respect their wishes as much as possible.
Make sure to keep your parent informed about the process and any decisions that are made. This can help alleviate any anxiety or uncertainty they may be feeling.
By including your parent in the process, you can help ensure that the care they receive is tailored to their needs and preferences, which can improve their overall quality of life.
Understanding the financial situation of your parents and your budget when choosing elder care for parents
Understanding the financial situation of your parents and your budget is an important factor to consider when choosing elder care for your parents. Care options can vary significantly in terms of cost, and it’s important to find a solution that is affordable and sustainable for you and your family.
Here are some things to consider when evaluating the financial aspect of elder care
Your parent’s financial resources
Does your parent have savings, a pension, or other sources of income that can be used to pay for care? If not, you may need to consider other options such as long-term care insurance or Medicaid.
Your family’s budget
Can you afford to pay for care out-of-pocket, or will you need to look into other financing options such as a home equity loan or reverse mortgage?
Research the costs of different care options in your area and compare them to your budget. Keep in mind that the cost of care can vary significantly depending on the type of care, location, and other factors.
Potential financial assistance
There may be financial assistance programs available to help cover the cost of care. Research options such as Medicaid, long-term care insurance, and veteran’s benefits to see if your parent qualifies.
By understanding your parent’s financial situation and your budget, you can make an informed decision about the type of care that is most feasible for your family. It may also be helpful to speak with a financial planner or elder care attorney to get more guidance on financing options.
Make sure to take care of home safety basics for elderly parents needing help
If your elderly parents need help with home safety, there are a few basic steps you can take to ensure their home is as safe as possible:
Remove tripping hazards
Look for items that might cause your parent to trip and fall, such as throw rugs, electrical cords, and clutter. Remove these items or secure them to prevent accidents.
Make sure your parent can easily access their phone
Make sure your parent has a phone that is easy for them to use and is within reach in case of an emergency. Consider installing a landline or cordless phone for added convenience.
Install grab bars
Grab bars can help your parent maintain their balance and prevent falls in the bathroom and other areas of the house.
Check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and replace the batteries as needed.
Remove potentially dangerous items
Look for items that could pose a danger to your parent, such as medications that are expired or out of reach, and dispose of them safely.
By taking care of these home safety basics, you can help ensure that your parent’s home is a safe and secure place for them to live.
Importance of easy access to communication
Easy access to communication is important for elderly parents for several reasons:
In case of an emergency, it’s important for your parent to be able to easily call for help. Having a phone that is easy to use and within reach can help ensure that they can contact emergency services if needed.
Staying connected with friends and family can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are common among elderly people. Having an easy way to communicate with loved ones can help your parent stay connected and engaged.
Giving your parent the ability to communicate on their own can help them maintain their independence and feel more in control of their life.
There are a number of options available for easy communication for elderly parents, such as landline phones, cordless phones, and mobile phones. Consider your parent’s needs and preferences when choosing the best option for them. It may also be helpful to consider features such as large buttons, amplified volume, and emergency call buttons for added convenience and safety.
Consider aging care options
There are many aging care options available to help support elderly individuals and their families. Here are some options to consider:
Geriatric care managers
These professionals specialize in coordinating and managing care for elderly individuals. They can help assess your parent’s needs, create a care plan, and connect you with appropriate resources and services.
In-home caregiving help
In-home caregiving services provide assistance with tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and medication management. These services can be provided by a trained caregiver or through an agency.
Assisted living communities
These communities provide housing and support services for elderly individuals who need help with daily tasks but do not require 24-hour medical supervision. Services can include meals, transportation, and personal care.
Geriatricians (geriatric doctors)
Geriatricians are doctors who specialize in the care of elderly individuals. They can provide medical care and coordinate with other healthcare professionals to ensure your parent is getting the care they need.
Area agency on aging
The Area Agency on Aging is a government-funded organization that provides resources and support for older adults and their caregivers. They can help connect you with services such as in-home care, transportation, and nutrition assistance.
It’s a good idea to research and compare different aging care options to find the one that best meets your parent’s needs and preferences. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek guidance from professionals such as geriatric care managers or geriatric doctors.
Final thoughts on choosing the best elder care for your parents
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to make this decision alone. Enlist the help of family and friends who can offer support and advice during this difficult process.
Choosing the best elder care for your parents is an important decision that takes a lot of thought and research. It is important to think carefully about their needs and to visit facilities in person to get a feel for the atmosphere. In addition, it is good to get advice and support from family and friends. With the right considerations, you can make a decision that will give your parents the best possible care.