While your parents probably would like to be able to take care of themselves independently, often children find themselves in a role-reversal as their parents age. They become the caregiver for Mom or Dad. It can be rewarding but also stressful because it takes time, patience and sometimes money. If you are facing a situation where your parent needs part-time or full-time help, here are some tips to help you make this easier on everyone.
Take stock of your parent’s home and do what you can to make it easier for them to deal with daily tasks. For instance, area rugs and loose carpeting can be hazardous as well as uneven flooring areas, so remove rugs and fix up flooring. Add handles in the bathroom and non-skid mats to the tub or even install a sit-down tub to make bathing easy and safe. Remove stairs in the front or backyard and replace them with ramps, and be sure there are sturdy rails to grab. In the bedroom, make sure the bed is low enough to get in and out of easily and put a nightlight in every room.
Other ways to make independent life easier include taking stock of the kitchen. Make sure plates, cups and other items are easy to access and not too high or that drawers are easy to open. Be sure the cupboards are stocked with canned and dry goods and a few frozen dinners are on hand, so that there is always something to eat. Also consider buying an easy to use electric can opener, well as a toaster oven and microwave to make meal preparation faster. Daily pill organizers can ensure that medicines are taken regularly and can be placed on a kitchen counter.
It’s also wise to have a conversation with your parent about finances. At some point, you also will want to talk about wills, trusts and directives. It’s good to know where information is kept in case of emergency, but if your parent seems to need or want some help with paying bills and managing a budget, you need to know the location of all of the pertinent information. If their budget permits, it might be nice to have some in-home care. This might include having someone come in and complete housekeeping chores once each week and perhaps shopping, grooming and dressing chores.
To find an in-home caregiver, it is easiest to find a screening service that identifies and researches various caregivers and companies to find the best ones in your area. CarePlacement.com, for example, researches licensed in-home caregivers, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities and other eldercare options. They will take down a list of your current needs as well as how much you can afford and provide you with a list of candidates to consider.
After receiving a list of potential caregivers, it is time for the interviews. You and your parent should sit down and write out some questions. Ask them about references and qualifications and have them describe their previous clients and what services were provided to those clients. Be sure to have a written contract that lists all of the services that are included in the set monthly rates. Also ask about what happens if circumstances change, such as your parent needs more help or perhaps the caregiver is sick on a given day and a replacement needs to be found.
Agatha Lebouef loves reading home health care blogs. To get more information about assisted living facilities in La Mesa or for expert help finding board and care Aliso Vejo homes for your loved ones, please check out the Care Placement website today.