Caring for elderly parents can be a pain staking event. The decision to take on the responsibility is one that should not be taken lightly and should be carefully thought out. We all want the want the best for our loved ones but how do know if the job is just too much for us and how do we know when to accept or ask for outside help and even more heartbreaking, would our loved one be better served in a personal care home.
We see ourselves in our parents, we have depended on them for years to guide us in the right direction and give us the support and care that we need to make it through the tough times in life. From our birth, to first day of school, to our first prom, to our marriages and the birth of our children, no matter the joys or despairs our parents have been there for us. Now it is time for us to become the caretaker and make the right decisions that will most benefit our loved ones.
Ideally, keeping an elderly parent in their own home is the most beneficial for the mental health. They are familiar with their surroundings and they experience the most important thing to them, their independence. Once an elderly parent feels their independence is being threatened you may experience more resistance to changes that need to be done in order to provide the care needed. Some things that you may want to do to evaluate exactly where your elderly parent stands is to visit the parents family physician with them. Do this over a period of time and stay involved with their care. You can then get a good idea where your parent's frame of mind is or their physical ability is going. Ask the doctor about your concerns in front of your parent, make them an active part of the conversations and the decisions to be made, it is their life you are talking about. Going behind their back will only cause you problems in the long run. Expect some resistance, how would you like someone taking over your life.
Once you figure out where they are, you can make better decisions. Keeping your parent involved, get advice from their family doctor, speak to local providers to see what is available in your community for seniors. Keeping a parent in their home environment is a very realistic scenario with all the in home support available these days. Many organizations offer housekeeping, shopping and companionship services to seniors in their homes. You can find more information on this through the many links available through the administration on aging webpage. These pages start at the federal level and work their way down to the local levels of support.
Another option that is available to you is adult day care. This has been around for quite some time now. It is just what it sounds like, a day care center for your elderly parent. A lot of these centers are set up with socialization and daily living activities that will keep your parent involved both mentally and physically. This option allows your elderly parent to be involved with others their same age, experiencing a lot of the same issues that they are. You may find that you meet others there who are in your same situation, it is a great place to network and find some good resources for other issues you may be dealing with.
If you have exhausted all options and you feel your parent would be better taken care of in a personal care type setting, you should do your investigation prior to taken this step. You can ask around the community to see what is available, nothing worse than finding out that you have put your parent in a place that has no social interaction and personal care and attention they need. This is especially true if your parent is non verbal and can not tell you what is actually going on. You should develop a checklist of what your expectations are. Go visit and see how the residents there are treated, see how the residents react to staff and check with your local aging services to see what they recommend, they will usually know the reputation of the local personal care homes in their area. Below is a list of questions that you may want to ask, this is just a start, you can never ask enough questions. Nursing home checklists are available online that covers just about every concern you may have.