Caring for Aging Parents

November 10, 2011; By: Audrey Miller
All About Estates

While caring for an aging parent, raising children, and working full-time, caregivers juggle many responsibilities. So how can caregivers manage their time? What options do they have? What is the different between home care and community based care? Is it worth paying a Personal Support Worker to take a parent to an appointment or should the caregiver miss work? What strategies work best? How do you manage it? What will make your caregiving responsibilities lighter?

Recognizing that at times, some help may be needed for one hour or for an entire weekend, is a step in the right direction.

Sit down with your family members and figure out if in home care would be helpful. Does it help if:
*someone else makes dinner
*cleans the house
*or takes your parent to their doctor’s appointment?

Is a day program for respite care an option for your older family member? Some community based programs are offered for a few hours a week or full day programs for several days per week are also available in many communities. Neighbourhood community programs, hospitals and community care access centres as well as local directories can provide further information regarding respite options.

What about hiring a caregiver for a few hours? A great option for many, but a few guidelines to consider:
*Are you hiring from an agency or the neighbour down the street?
*Does the person have any specific training or experience with older adults and knowledge on how to assist without ‘doing for’ the individual, when it is not required? Remember your neighbour’s nanny may be used to changing babies’ diapers but providing personal care to an older individual is quite different.
*Are there language or cultural differences that may be important to consider?
*Will this caregiver know what to do if there is a problem?
*Will your parent be comfortable with a ‘stranger’ in the house?

Consistency, routine and familiarity are important.

If you can have the same person spend some time with you and your family member, getting to know the care recipient’s habits or needs to some degree, perhaps over a cup of coffee, allowing for a few visits before they are left together, may assist in easing with the transition. Having the same person on the same day is also helpful for consistency and routine. Many agencies have minimum requirements for shifts. Use the extra time for yourself, even if you only need someone for an hour. The extra pair of hands and eyes can also be of assistance; even if it is to allow you the luxury of putting your feet up or reading the paper or tending to the many other things that may have pushed aside.

Know your options and resources.

Leave a reply