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Caring For An Elderly Parent: Everything You Need To Know

May 15th, 2023

It’s a natural part of life that at some point you may find yourself caring for an elderly parent. How much you need to care for elderly parents will vary and can depend on a number of factors, such as how many parents you’re caring for, any serious medical conditions they may have, and your own living arrangements. There are several things to consider when looking after elderly parents and this guide will look at the options available to you and offer advice for anyone caring for elderly parents.  

Caring For Elderly Parents: Things To Consider

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If you’ve started talking about caring for an elderly parent, then you ‘re likely at the stage where you ‘re weighing up the pros and cons and looking at the options available to you. Caring for an elderly parent does not automatically mean having them move in with you, or moving them to a care home. There are plenty of steps to take and choices to make that will impact how you decide to care for elderly parents:

1. Research

The best place to begin with this potential life change is to do your research. Find out what will be involved in looking after elderly parents at home and if you’re able to get help with elderly parents living with you. Visit retirement homes or local care homes to see if this might be a better option, or find home carers near you if you feel the best way to care for an elderly parent is to keep them in their own home. 

2. Communicate

When you have the information you need and feel prepared, now is the time to talk to your parents and find out what they want. You can confidently explain the available options and give them a say in their next stage of care. It is also important to be open with siblings who want to help with elderly parents. Finally, talk to anyone already involved in your parents’ care, like doctors, so you have a clear picture of what you will need to do to successfully care for elderly parents.

3. Create A Care Plan

When you have decided the best route to take in looking after elderly parents, it’s time to start thinking about the details and drafting a care plan. This might look like: 

  • Living arrangements – make a clear plan of where your parents will now be living and how this will work. Whether that’s a care home with nursing care provision, or moving them into your home.
  • Who is caring for elderly parents – drawing up a rota system with any siblings or other caregivers can help to ensure that your elderly loved one has regular visitors. This is especially important if your parent is staying at home while you care for them, but also ensures they feel happy and comfortable if they have moved to a care home.
  • Medication – caring for an elderly parent can mean administering medication regularly or, at the very least, making sure they take their own medication. Include a schedule in your care plan so that everyone looking after an elderly parent knows what happens and when.
  • Food – it may sound basic, but as people age, they can become fussier or simply not be able to eat certain foods anymore. Include some simple meal plans, with things like soft food recipes that you can refer to. This can be particularly helpful when navigating dementia and eating problems.  
  • Staying active – caring for an elderly parent means taking care of every need, and this includes ensuring that their body and mind stay active. If you are out at work all day, they may find themselves being very sedentary. Help them by finding YouTube exercises, arranging days out, or asking grandchildren to spend time with them too. If your loved one is in a care home, ask care staff to encourage them to join in any activities
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4. Finances

Whichever route you take in caring for an elderly parent, there will be financial implications. Whether that’s moving them into your home and the extra costs this incurs, the cost of a care home or paying for a home carer. You might also need to think about selling their house and, for loved ones living with dementia or similar degenerative diseases, you might want to look into arranging a power of attorney

Caring For Elderly Parents At Home

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If you’ve decided that you want to care for an elderly parent at home, be it their own home or asking them to live with you, there are some extra things you may need to factor in. Caring for an elderly parent at home means taking care of everything above, as well as other things like their personal hygiene. You may have to make adaptations to the home environment to make it safer too, such as turning a reception room into a bedroom. Even for elderly parents who are still quite able, adding this extra layer of responsibility to your life can be taxing.

Some people looking after elderly parents cut back on the time they spend at work, and some stop working completely to be a full-time carer. If this is the case, then be sure to find out if you’re entitled to a carer’s allowance, which may help with any costs associated with caring for elderly parents. 

Respite Care 

Respite care can really help if you’ve become a carer to an elderly parent. Respite care is a temporary arrangement where an elderly person can stay at a care home and access all of the facilities just as anyone living there would. It can be used when carers want to go on holiday or simply need a break from caring for an elderly parent. It’s vital to look after yourself when also looking after an elderly parent, and respite care can be an accessible solution.

Caring For An Elderly Parent In A Care Home 

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For those who feel that their elderly parents need more sustained care, residential care in a care home can offer round-the-clock support. A care home environment can also help elderly parents retain a sense of independence if they do not feel at ease relying on their children to care for them.

Looking after elderly parents doesn’t have to mean managing their day-to-day needs; choosing the best level of care for their needs and involving them in that decision is the most important part of caring for an elderly parent – as is researching, planning, and organising a move into a care home, which requires time and dedication. You’ll continue caring for elderly parents when they’re in a care home by visiting them regularly and even taking them on day trips, safe in the knowledge that dedicated, trained staff are on hand to look after your loved one.

New Care Homes 

New Care Homes provide care services for the elderly across Cheshire and the north-west. Our luxurious care home interiors have been designed as tranquil spaces where seniors can relax, socialise, and join in activities. We also have chefs making delicious meals in our fine dining restaurants, where family members can join their loved ones and enjoy time together. 

Please visit a care home location near you, where you can see life in a care home for yourself and ask us any questions about caring for an elderly parent.