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A guide to caring for an elderly parent

Are you caring for an elderly parent or perhaps thinking about taking it on as your parent requires extra help at home? Whether you’re looking for some additional guidance on where to start or have been caring for your elderly parent for a while, our guide can help. We’ve put together this useful guide so you can learn more about what caring for an elderly parent entails and how you can get extra support.

If you’re caring for an elderly parent and would benefit from a regular break or having a Care Worker attend to your parent’s needs, then Home Care could be a great option. This involves a trained Care Worker visiting your elderly parent in their home and providing as much or as little care as they require. At Alina Homecare, all our Care Workers are fully trained and ready to help make life easier for you and your elderly parent. To learn more about our services, contact your local Alina Homecare Team today or request a free Home Care brochure now.

Watching someone you love slowly lose independence and require additional support can be difficult. Many people respond to this situation by taking on care responsibilities themselves. Because of this, over three million people aged 40-60 provide care for an elderly parent in the UK.1 There is a wealth of benefits to caring for an elderly parent but it also comes with significant challenges. Ultimately, the right care option for your elderly parent should satisfy both your needs and theirs.

Five things to consider when caring for an elderly parent

Taking on the role of caring for an elderly parent is a big and sometimes life changing decision so needs to be thoroughly thought through. There are many factors to consider before committing yourself to being a primary caregiver. You need to think about your needs and ability to provide care whilst also considering your elderly parent’s requirements as well as if and how you could fully meet them. Ultimately, you want to ensure your elderly parent is living the best quality of life possible without reducing your own.

Here are five things you should consider before committing to caring for an elderly parent:

1. Understand your parent’s wishes

It’s understandable that your elderly parent may have different opinions about the care they would like to receive. A difference in opinion regarding this can often cause tension, which could put a strain on your relationship. It’s important to take time to understand what your parent’s wishes are and ensure they feel listened to. Approach the situation with patience and compassion to avoid any negative feelings.

Ultimately, your parent is the one receiving the care so it’s important that their needs and preferences are considered. As people age, they’re likely to feel like they’re losing their independence. Because of this, ensuring that they are involved in their future can mitigate these feelings and make them feel more empowered. However, if your elderly parent has dementia or another condition that inhibits their ability to make decisions for themselves, it’s important to act in their best interest.

2. Evaluate your concerns

Choosing to provide care for an elderly parent is a decision which requires a lot of thought. As a result, concerns may arise which you need to carefully evaluated. It’s important you consider your ability to meet your elderly parent’s care needs whilst also addressing any concerns you have.

Talking about your concerns with your elderly parent, other family members as well as a trained professional, such as your parent’s doctor, can be helpful in finding a resolution. As a result, this approach could help alleviate the pressure of caring for an elderly parent and can make you feel more supported in making decisions regarding their care.

3. If you can meet their care needs

Your ability to fully support your elderly parent and meet their care needs is also something that needs to be carefully considered. Providing dedicated support may be difficult if you have other responsibilities such as your own children or if you have a job. It’s important you don’t spread yourself too thin as this can have a negative impact on your mental and physical wellbeing. Many people feel caregiver guilt if they are unable to meet a loved one’s care needs alone; however, it is important to be realistic as a rational decision is ultimately needed to ensure the best level of care is provided.

This is particularly important if your elderly parent has a medical condition such as dementia or cancer, or if they’ve recently come out of hospital and are now more vulnerable. Having an open discussion with your elderly parent to understand their requirements will allow you to evaluate whether you can meet their needs.

4. Care requirements will change over time

Many people require more care and support as they age. Because of this, it’s likely that the amount of care your elderly parent needs will increase over time. If you choose to provide care for your elderly parent, it’s important that your ability to provide additional care as it’s needed is considered.

Having regular conversations with your elderly parent and other professionals involved with their care can help you decide what the right option is as their needs evolve. As the amount of care required increases, you may want to consider other options such as elderly Home Care or a residential facility to ensure your elderly parent’s needs are met.

5. Your personal needs

Although caring for an elderly parent can be beneficial, you also need to consider your personal needs. It’s important you are still able to fulfil other commitments and take time for yourself to support your mental wellbeing.

To provide high quality care, your needs must also be met. If you choose to care for an elderly parent, there are various places you can get support and advice to ease the responsibility of being a caregiver for a loved one. You may also consider getting Respite Care so you can have a regular break and time for yourself whilst your elderly parent’s needs are being met by a trained Care Worker.

person who is caring for an elderly parent

Benefits of caring for an elderly parent

Remain at Home

Many people wish to remain at home as they age due to it often being the place where they feel safest and most comfortable. It can be unsettling to leave behind cherished memories and familiar routines, especially for the elderly. Caring for an elderly parent means they can remain in their home which often has positive impacts on their mood and mental wellbeing.

Familiarity

Receiving care from someone you don’t know can be uncomfortable and could lead to feelings of anxiety and stress. This can particularly be the case if intimate Personal Care is required. Caring for an elderly parent means their care needs will be met by someone they are familiar with. This could result in your elderly parent being more open to receiving the support they require.

Strengthen Relationships

Caring for an elderly parent means you’ll spend more quality time with them which may strengthen the bond you share. Having a more trusting relationship also means your elderly parent may feel more open about discussing their care needs as they evolve. This can also increase the appreciation you both share for each other and positively impact your relationship.

Opportunity to Give Back

Providing care for your elderly parent can often feel like the role has been reversed between parent and child. Many people see it as an opportunity to return the love and nurture they have received over the years. Caring for an elderly parent can bring a sense of fulfilment and gratitude which can positively impact your mental health.

Peace of Mind

If your parent lives on their own, you may feel anxious regarding their safety and ability to support themselves at home. For instance, you may be worried if they have had a fall or if they have taken their required medication. Caring for an elderly parent yourself provides peace of mind as these worries can be relieved as you know what care has been provided.

Cost Effective

Although there will be some costs involved in caring for an elderly parent to meet their needs safely, it’s often much less in comparison to other care options. For example, caring for an elderly parent at home incurs less costs than a care home or other residential facility. If you choose to provide care yourself, you may also be entitled to financial support from the government.

Sense of Purpose

Providing care, especially for a loved one, is highly rewarding. As a result, you may feel a sense of purpose as your elderly parent relies on you to support them and their needs. Seeing how the care you provide has a direct positive impact on the quality of life of someone you love can bring purpose to your life. This will likely result in better mental wellbeing as a result.

Support for caring for an elderly parent

Caring for an elderly parent can be difficult and you may need some extra support to help you do this. Taking on this responsibility may mean you can only work part time which could cause financial stress. You may also need support in other areas as well.

Some people may feel trapped caring for an elderly parent which could have a negative impact on mental wellbeing and can cause tension or resentment. Sometimes all it takes is having a conversation with someone who listens to your concerns and can support how you’re feeling.

With the number of people caring for an elderly parent continuously increasing, there are many different ways you can get support:

What can help you provide care for an elderly parent?

There are many challenges that can come with caring for an elderly parent. If you don’t live with them, you may feel worried or anxious when you’re away. Moving in with your elderly parent or them with you can help, but a lot of the time this isn’t possible.

Ultimately, you want to ensure their safety whilst meeting their care needs in a way which supports their independence. Luckily, there are different ways you can make caring for an elderly parent easier:

Home adaptations

If you’re caring for an elderly parent, you may find supporting them to complete daily tasks difficult if the home isn’t correctly equipped. As a result, this could make everyday activities for your parent unsafe and you may find it challenging to help them. To limit the impact of this issue, home adaptations to support the elderly can help.

There are many different adaptations which can be implemented into the home and routines to help you provide care for an elderly parent. They can support them with tasks such as cooking, washing and moving around the home. This extra support can make caring for an elderly parent easier as there is less you have to do.

Home adaptations for the elderly can vary significantly depending on the amount of extra help they provide. A stair or bath lift can support your elderly parent with their mobility. If they struggle at mealtimes, a kettle tipper or easy to grip cutlery can help.

Home adaptations for your elderly parent may be expensive. Fortunately, smaller adaptations that cost under £1,000 may be covered by your local council.

Remote monitoring systems

Many people who care for an elderly parent have other responsibilities and commitments. Because of this, they may not be able to check in on their parent as much as they would like to ensure they’re safe and comfortable. This could lead to anxiety and worry.

Luckily, there are a wide range of elderly monitoring systems to support this and provide much needed peace of mind. These systems allow you to monitor your elderly parent and their activities remotely so that no matter where you are, you can check that they are safe.

Remote monitoring systems for the elderly can monitor different things depending on the system you choose. They may monitor your parent’s location, such as indoor but also outdoor activities and some can detect their heart rate or signal an alarm if they detect a fall.

The added reassurance that elderly monitoring systems provide can give a boost in confidence for both you and them. Reducing the worry you may have can allow you to focus on other goals in your life when caring for an elderly parent. Read our guide to learn more about how to monitor your elderly parent remotely.

Home Care

Solely caring for an elderly parent can be draining and it’s likely you may need some extra support to help you. Many people who care for a parent choose to receive elderly Home Care to relieve some pressure that caregiving can cause. In fact, almost one million people in the UK receive Home Care so that they can live independently at home.6

With this type of support, a trained Care Worker will visit the home at agreed times to provide agreed care for your elderly parent and assist them with their daily routines. Most Home Care Workers can support your elderly parent’s typical activities including Personal Care routines, housekeeping tasks and also provide companionship.

A lot of people may feel uncomfortable providing personal or intimate care for their elderly parents. Many parents may also feel embarrassed or apprehensive about receiving this type of care from their children. By choosing Home Care, a Care Worker will help your elderly parent with this type of care so that your relationship doesn’t have to change. This then allows you to spend quality time with your parent that doesn’t involve caring for them in this way.

Tips for choosing a care provider for your elderly parent

If you choose to receive extra support from a care provider to help you care for your elderly parent, you may be wondering which one to choose. As there are many different care providers available, you may find it difficult to decide on the right choice for your situation. Ultimately, the right option meets both your and your parent’s needs.

To help you choose the most suitable option for you, we’ve compiled some top tips to help guide you with your decision:

How we can support your elderly parent

If you’re caring for an elderly parent and would benefit from some extra support to ease the pressure, we can help. At Alina Homecare, we provide a range of Home Care services to support your elderly parent so they can live safely and independently at home. This includes Personal Care, Companion Care, Domestic Care, Live-in Care and much more.

If you wish to remain your parent’s primary caregiver but need a regular break, our Respite Care or Overnight Care services can help. We also provide dedicated care for a wide range of conditions. Our Teams are fully trained and ready to support your parent after a stroke or hospital stay or if they have a medical condition such as cancer or dementia. To learn more about our care services, request a free Home Care brochure today.

We understand the importance of providing quality care to make life easier for the elderly. All our services are fully regulated by the CQC to ensure the high level of quality we provide to everyone who uses our services. We also believe great care comes from great training which is why all our Care Workers receive excellent training through our exclusive Academy, so you know your elderly parent is in safe hands.

Contact your local Alina Homecare Team today to learn more about the care we can provide for your elderly parent.

References

2. Gov.uk, “Carers Allowance“, Reviewed 25 October 2023

3. Cleveland Clinic, “Caregiver Burnout“, Reviewed 25 October 2023

5. Age UK, “Age UK Advice Line“, Reviewed 25 October 2023

6. Homecare.co.uk, “Home care facts and stats: number of providers, service users & work force“, Reviewed 25 October 2023