If your parent is still living in her home but has reached an age where she’s no longer can manage her health or her home all on her own, you might be looking into providing her help and becoming her caregiver. That way she can continue to stay in the home she loves, surrounded by a community that she is familiar with and has built relationships with over the years.
As you begin to embark on this journey of being her caregiver, it’s important that you sit down with your elderly parent and talk about what this role all entails and what both of your expectations are. If you’re not on the same page for most things, it will make caretaking for your elderly parent much more difficult, no matter how much you care for her. Start by discussing the following questions.
Is your parent safe in her home?
This can entail a lot of things. Is her neighborhood still a safe place to live? If she is living alone, is her home protected from criminals or does she have access to get help right away if needed (such as a trusted neighbor)?
You’ll also want to see that her home is set up with proper equipment to keep her safe. It might mean putting up guardrails on the stairs or in the tub. It could mean getting your parent an emergency alert button she can wear around the home for immediate help in case of a fall. You could also look at hiring a home care provider to check in on your parent daily or weekly.
How well is your parent taking care of herself?
Does your parent need help to remember to take her medications or eat properly? Before you decide to be her caregiver, agree upon which areas your parent will let you oversee to make sure she is taking care of her health. This will also include mental health. How are your parent’s spirits? If she struggles with loneliness or depression, determine how she’ll manage that with you as her caregiver. See if she’ll be willing to spend time with a caregiver provider for companionship if she needs it.
What is your parent’s ability to get around?
As her caregiver, consider her ability to drive herself places and determine who will do what. If you no longer feel your parent should drive by herself, set up plans to have her driven by a caregiver to her favorite places for errands or activities. You can provide the rides yourself, or you can help her learn the public transportation system. You can also hire a caregiver to provide some rides during the day.
Where does your parent keep her important papers?
In case of an emergency, as her caregiver, you’re going to need access to important paperwork such as a list of your parent’s doctors, allergies, medications, surgeries, insurance information and other important details. You’ll also want to take the time to discuss long-term care, living wills and advance directives.
Being a caregiver is as noble task that will help your parent live her life at a home and that brings her comfort and joy. Start it off right by making sure you have all you need to provide both of you the best years together.