For many families, the thought of caring for an aging parent brings stress and strain. After all, we don’t take Elder Care Solution 101 in school, and many of us may have not grown up in a multi-generational household. It doesn’t have to be like that though. Elder Care can and should be a positive experience. Check out these tips for making caring for an aging parent the kind of experience that changes your life in a positive way.
1. Ask for help – Caring for an aging parent is a significant emotional, physical, and financial burden. Don’t play the martyr by doing everything yourself. Ask your daughter to sacrifice some of her social networking time to spend an hour with Grandma so you can take a long, hot bath.
2. Encourage social activities – A smart elder care solution includes helping your parent find social activities they’ll enjoy. Look in the local paper to find senior activities calendars. Adult day services are another option to consider. These centers allow Dad to stay with caregivers while you work or take a day to go fishing or shopping.
Don’t limit social activities to dropping Grandma off at the senior center, either. Institute a regular family game night, so you, your parent, and other relatives can play board games or put puzzles together. You might also invite him or her to watch your daughter’s volleyball practice.
Social activities are an important part of any caring for aging parent strategy, so don’t let transportation concerns stop your loved one from participating. Look in the city/municipal services section of the phone book to find public transportation for seniors. If those services aren’t available, ask friends and family members to pitch in and taxi Grandpa where he wants to be.
3. Communicate with the medical team – Doctors, nurses, and other health care givers are an important part of your elder care solution. If possible, accompany your loved one on doctor’s visits to make sure you and your parent understand any diagnoses or instructions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something or if you and your parent disagree on what the doctor said.
Caring for an aging parent is also easier if you keep copies of health care information, such as insurance policies and medical records. Also keep a list of doctors and medications. Put the information in an easy-to-access place so you can get to it in an emergency.
If you’re involved in planning your family’s elder care solution, it’s also critical to make sure you understand how your parent’s health care coverage, including Medicare plans, work. Confused? The local agency on aging will direct you to resources that can help your family understand the process as well as make decisions. Caring for an aging parent doesn’t need to be a burden. Start down the path to a better elder care solution today.