During these unprecedented times, the worry of parents getting older and less able, can become much greater, as we are unable to make the regular visits we would normally make to give us the reassurance that they are well and their needs are being met.
It is so important during this time that older parents continue to stay safe and healthy, and we are now having to find new ways to ensure they are and how to handle the situation if we have any concerns.
Understanding any changing needs when social distancing from loved ones is a challenge, it can be overwhelming and making decisions for them can be difficult. Below are a few steps to making these decisions:
Caring for a parent can feel overwhelming, because you’re not sure exactly what needs to be done. To help solve this, take a step back to understand how much help your parent’s need with everyday life to live at home safely.
Think about 8 key areas:
1. Family Support
2. Home safety
3. Medical needs
4. Cognitive health
6. Personal Hygiene
7. Mental Wellbeing
8. Spiritual Needs
Think about how much support they are already getting in each area and how much help they realistically need to stay safe and healthy. Write everything down, so you can keep a track of their needs and figure out what extra support is needed.
For example, let’s say Dad is managing diabetes and heart disease, has no family close by, lives in a fairly isolated area and doesn’t enjoy cooking for himself. If you don’t live close by, then you may want to think about introducing a home care provider who can provide care services such as cooking a meal a day for him and provide medication support.
Everyone is at a different place in their lives. Before you make the assumption that you can take care of all of your parents needs, because that’s the right thing to do in your own mind, stop and think about the situation you are in and the commitment needed, over and above your daily life and activities. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Does your own health allow you to physically care for someone?
2. Do you live close enough to visit as often as needed?
3. Do you have the kind of relationship that allows you to spend a lot of time together without creating a lot of negative feelings on either side? Caring for a loved one, can alter the dynamics of a relationship!
4. Do you have the personality to provide the type of care they need?
5. Are you willing to learn how to provide that care?
You want your parents to be safe and healthy, and it’s not selfish or heartless if you’re not the right person to provide that care. It’s best to make an honest assessment early in the process so you don’t get yourself into a situation that’s not sustainable and burn yourself out both physically and emotionally.
Nobody wants to lose control of their life, especially someone who’s already concerned about losing independence.
That’s why it’s so important to involve your parents as much as possible when you’re planning their care. Radfield Home Care are always happy to come out to meet your parents and have a chat to them about the help and support they can provide. Sometimes, it makes it easier to talk about support, when there is a third party involved in these discussions.
With over 35 years of experience in the care sector, Radfield Home Care has experienced some resistance in the beginning, and it can take multiple conversations. So drip feeding the support that is available can be a good plan, and providing the opportunity to meet some of the care team can provide further reassurance.
No matter what the situation, introducing home care will cost money, so it’s a good idea to pull together these costs from the beginning. These should not only include the cost of care provided, but additional costs like home safety modifications should also be taken into account.
You may also want to talk through your care planning with specialist financial advisors, that are qualified individuals to provide financial advice as you get older.
SOLLA (Society of Later Life Advisers) helps individuals and their families in finding trusted accredited financial advisors who understand financial needs in later life. Visit their website here.
Safety hazards in the house add up overtime, making it easier for older people to trip, fall and hurt themselves. Preventing falls will go a long way to keeping your parents independent for as long as possible.
Simple fixes to avoid slips, trips and falls for older people include:
Making sure all floors and walkways are clear of clutter
Adding grab bars in the bathroom and stair handrails throughout
Updating lights, so all rooms are bright and switches are easily accessible
Ensuring all appliances work well and are within easy reach
Minimise the need to use steps / stools or to bend down low
Avoid wearing footwear like slippers that don’t fit and could be a hazard
Another thing that keeps your loved ones safe is the ability to easily call for help and keep in touch with family and friends. In addition to safety hazards, isolation and loneliness can have a serious negative effect on overall health.
Make sure their landline or mobile phone is easy to use and easily accessible. Providing a phone with pre-programmed numbers in their pocket is reassuring and easier to get to.
Once you have identified and all agreed that care is required, the next step is to understand the process of arranging care in the home and making a decision on which home care provider to reach out to.
Testimonials and reviews provide great reassurance for families looking for a quality home care provider whose experience and values align with your needs.
For more information on the care and support services Radfield Home Care can provide, please give your local office a call today.
Get in touch with your local Radfield Home Care office today and find out more about the support we offer and the difference we can make.