Saturday, January 31, 2009

Aging Parents: Know Your Caregiver Options

The Guide To Looking After Aging Parents!

We are the sandwich generation. We look after
our kids. Then we may find themselves in the
situation of caring for an aging parent. Or both
of them.

If you are a caregiver for elderly family members,
there are options available. First you must access
your own situation.

As hard as it is, sometimes the best and only
option is for the aging person to go into a care

If your aging parent is bed-ridden, you'll find
it extremely difficult to care for them on your

If they have dementia or Alzheimer's disease,
you will need to be with them all the time, given
the degree of the illness. This can wear you out
and cause you to become ill.

However, in less severe cases, it may be possible to
arrange for the person to stay at home by adding
a few home health care options into the person’s life.

One of the major decisions is where the elderly parent
will live. For many working adults, it is much easier
to take care of an elderly parent if they agree to move
into the son or daughter’s home.

My Mom and I were very lucky. There were times it
looked like a care facility was on the horizon but we
pulled through. I was able to continue working and
she was quite happy.

We also made use of home care in the last 3 years.
This service was free to us in our area. (based on

At the end, I took vacation time to spend with Mom
until she passed away. It was a blessing that I'll
always cherish.

So you see, many people can continue working and
spending time with their families as well as taking
care of an elderly parent.

Depending on the health and independence of the
aging parent, different amounts of extra help might
be needed. It may be the case that the parent can
be home alone all day but if that is not the case,
there are plenty of organizations and people to turn
to in order to get some help and support in the
caregiving process.

One option is to find an adult day care center where
healthier elderly people can go during the day in order
to socialize and stay active with other people.

At such a day care facility, people play games, listen to
music together, organize trips and have lunch as a
group. For most elderly people, this is much preferred
over sitting home alone every day.

Many aging people are not amenable to the idea of an
adult day care center, but do remind them that they
won’t know if they like it or not until they’ve tried it.
Most elderly people who go to such a center end up
being huge fans of the arrangement.

If your aging parent is not in good enough condition
to go to a recreational adult day care center, you could
also check to see if there’s a center in your area that
includes health care.

Such centers exist, they are just fewer and far between.
These care centers are an excellent option for having
an aging parent taken care of during the day while you
are at work without having to put them into a nursing home.

Home care is also an option, although it offers fewer
social benefits for the aging patient. Home care can either
take on the form of medical care brought into the home
or it can be as simple as hiring someone to come over an
hour before lunch to do a little cleaning, having lunch with
the aging parent and then cleaning up, visiting for a while,
and then going on their way again.

Mom had her home caregiver bathe her. Then they
would stay awhile and talk with her. She loved them
and it lightened things for me. A win-win!

Depending on the type of home care that is necessary,
the range in price is huge. Home health care can get very
expensive very quickly, but having a local come over
for a few hours every day can be very affordable and
produce significantly satisfying results.

Talk with your aging parent to get a feel for what it is
that they would like to do in terms of getting their needs
met without moving to a nursing home.

Also, talk to your siblings and other family members
to see what everyone else thinks and to see if anyone is
willing to help. For many families, the constraint of cost
makes it necessary to keep all of the adult caregiving
within the family.

If one person does all of the caregiving, it grows very
stressful and very tiring, but if ten family members each
spend two hours a week, you might all enjoy it so much
that you’ll never want to hire home care!

So know your options, check around your area and you
will find the help you need in looking after aging parents...

The Guide To Looking After Aging Parents!