Choosing to be the caregiver to an elderly parent can be a loving thing to do. However, it is important to keep the following things in mind so that you can provide care that benefits both your parent and you.
Understand Their Medications
When you decided to take care of your parent, you may have done so simply out of affection for your parent. You might not know what medications they are taking or what each medication does, and you might think that is the doctor's job.
However, as their caregiver, you will need to have a thorough understanding of your parent's medications so you can protect and care for them. For example, knowing your parent is on a medication that may make them dizzy will encourage you to remove possible fall hazards in the home.
Because your parent is getting older, you might feel the urge to do as much as you can for them. However, it is important for your parent to be able to make some decisions for themselves; when you allow them to do that, they can still feel as if they have some measure of control in their own life. For example, your mom might not be able to get dressed without help, but she might enjoy picking out clothing for herself each day.
Consider Adult Day Care
You might be so busy taking care of your aging parent that you don't seem to have time left for you and your own interests. You may find yourself feeling burnt out, but feel guilty at the thought of leaving your parent alone.
Adult day care centers can give you some time to take a break while offering a stimulating, safe environment for your parent. They offer daily activities that your parent can join, but these centers often offer other services as well. Some services a day care center might offer are:
- Counseling for you and your parent
- Physical therapy
- Health monitoring
Depending on what day care center you choose, your parent can attend a day or two a week or visit everyday.
Now that you are aware of some things to focus on when you start caring for an elderly parent, you can share this information with your family. Visit a few adult day care centers in the area for more ideas about how you can best take care of your parent while making sure there is time for you as well.