How to Care for Aging Parents

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If you are new to family caregiving, you are probably facing some important life decisions and you may feel overwhelmed, scared or frustrated. Don’t worry, these feelings are completely normal.

Below is a checklist to help you work through some of those concerns and assess how to best take care of your parents.

  • Prepare a Care Plan
    Preparing a care plan that addresses your parent’s strengths and weaknesses is necessary when beginning your caregiving journey. It will help you can determine how many hours of care a day your loved one will require.
  • Type of Care Needed
    Does your parent have prescription medication or need help with pain management? Meet with a doctor who can assess your loved one and create a medical care plan so that you can provide medical assistance at home.
  • Monitor Medication
    Monitor your parent’s medication according to their medical care plan, which should specify your duties and what times of day you should provide medical assistance to them.
    If they live alone, create an in-case-of-emergency master document that includes a list of their medications, advance directives and any additional medical information. Put the document in a clear plastic bag and tape it to their refrigerator door (or inside of the front door).
  • Assist with Basic Needs
    Assist your loved one with their basic needs, which could include bathing, grooming and going to the bathroom.
  • Prepare Meals
    Food preparation becomes increasingly difficult as we age. You can help your parent by doing their grocery shopping or preparing their meals and by monitoring their nutrition.
  • Housekeeping
    Keeping a clean and organized home takes more time as we age and become less active. You can help assist a loved one by doing dishes, vacuuming or taking out the garbage.
    Also, ensure walkways and common areas are free of clutter or objects that could cause them to slip or fall.
  • Transferring Your Parent
    Your parent may have difficulty getting to and from their bed to their chair, or vice-versa, for example. Be prepared to help them move and make them comfortable.
  • Transporting Your Parent
    Transporting your loved one to doctor’s appointments and other activities will become a common caregiving duty.
  • Friendship/Companionship
    In the midst of all these duties, it’s easy to forget one of the most important parts of caregiving – companionship. Focus on how rewarding it is to care for your parent and know how thankful they are to have you too.
  • Monitor Performance
    Finally, look at your loved one’s care plans, monitor the performance of their care and speak with a medical professional if any adjustments need to be made.

These duties are essential caregiving tasks, but it’s also important to remember to adjust them as necessary for the parent or senior that you’re caring for.

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