June’s mom, Eleanor (age 76), was a relatively healthy woman. She drove herself to church every Sunday, kept her house cleaned to a shine, and loved to cook for friends and family. That was until she suffered a stroke that left her with significant disability. June went from being an adult daughter who visited once a week or so for family dinners to becoming a family caregiver in the course of a day. She was shocked and uncertain of where to start.
June’s sudden situation isn’t unusual. Many adult children of elderly parents suddenly find themselves in the position of caring for their parents due to an illness or disability. If you’re in that position, below are 4 tips that can help you to get started in your role as a caregiver.
#1: Find Ways to Educate Yourself
The more you know about being a caregiver and the condition your parent has, the more at ease you’ll feel. You may be able to find a caregiver class in your area through the local hospital, the Area Agency on Aging, or the Red Cross. In addition, ask the doctor if they can provide literature about the condition or spend some time reading information on the Internet—just be sure you use reliable sources as there is a lot of misinformation out there.
#2: Decide if Your Parent Can Stay in Their Home
Your parent will probably want to stay in their home, but there are some situations that make that impossible. When making a decision of this magnitude, it’s important to involve your parent as well as siblings or other concerned parties. Think about how care could be managed in their home and whether it is feasible given your parent’s condition and the location and availability of family caregivers. Also, take into consideration the house itself and whether it will work for an elderly person in your parent’s condition. For example, a house with a lot of steps poses a problem for someone in a wheelchair.
#3: Plan to Take Care of Yourself
Family caregivers often get so wrapped up in worrying about their parent that they forget to think about their own health. They may eat poorly and not sleep enough. Caregivers also tend to neglect going to their own regular doctor and dentist appointments. When you’re planning for your parent’s care, don’t forget to schedule in time for yourself.
#4: Learn About the Legal Aspects
Family caregivers are often tasked with making medical and financial decisions for their parents. You may also have to assist with some end of life decisions. That requires some legal documents to be in place. A social worker or a lawyer who specializes in elder law can assist you with what documents are needed.
If you are considering hiring caregivers in Hooper, UT, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Ogden, UT. Call today 801-821-4535.