Caring for Ageing Parents
If you have made the decision to care for your ageing parents, you may already know approximately what to expect. However you may not have the whole picture. That is because there are many facets to caring for the elderly. Physical, mental and financial questions must be addressed.
Here, at Vermont Aged Care, we have a lot of experience in all of those areas. This comes from assisting our precious residents and their families. That is why we are happy to provide you with the following tips we hope will be helpful.
What the changes mean to them
It’s important to understand what the changes will mean to them. If you begin at that point, it will be easier to approach them. Remember, they are facing a lot of losses. Firstly their independence, their privacy and a sense of freedom. Sometimes even the loss of their home. Perhaps a home they have lived in for decades. If they are moving to your house they will lose precious neighbours. Also their local shopping centre and their daily habits.
It isn’t easy to ask people for help or to accept the help of others. Not when you’re an adult. Initially, they may feel a loss of dignity. Furthermore, it is not a decision they can go back on easily. Simple things like downsizing are harder for older people. Letting go of their furniture and many loved objects is painful. Most of these decisions are in the mind, but no less painful than physical pain. Watch out for signs of distress, or worse, depression.
What they need from you
Mostly, what they will need from you is tact, compassion and patience. These will get you through the initial conversation and decision-making stages. If they appear resistant, don’t assume you know why. Ask them frequently how they are feeling to ensure you are on the same page. Furthermore, you need to reassure them constantly that you are not trying to rob them of their lives. Always look on the bright side and always remain positive. You need to get the message across that this is a step forward not backwards.
The planning stage is important. That is because everyone involved must be on the same page. If you have siblings, it is important that everyone comes together. Try not to have discord. If you are not all in agreement talk separately until you reach that stage. Presenting a united front will reassure them that the family is not going to fall apart. That is why it is a good idea to write down everyone’s suggestions for the plan ahead. The plan should not be an emotional one; it should be practical in nature.
Your parents’ physical needs will depend on several factors. Firstly are they single or a couple? That will bring about the question of who can accommodate them. In other words who has a large enough home. Secondly, what is their state of health? If they are in good health and continent your job will be much easier. If they are incontinent, can they manage the toileting by themselves? Otherwise the family may need to contribute to the services of a health care assistant. Daughters are more likely to be able to do this job.
Will you need to make adjustments to the home? Are all the children working outside the home? What about meals? Perhaps meals on wheels would be a good idea for all concerned. Also, extra laundry needs to be catered for. Then there are the doctor’s and dentist’s visits and the shopping. Many hands make light work as they say. Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of everyone who can share the burden with you.
Talk to your parents about the state of their finances. Reassure them that you are not trying to take control of their money. The basics will suffice. For instance, do they have a Will and a Living Will? Further, what are the names of their bankers, solicitors and lawyers? Do they have financial advisors and a portfolio? However, you don’t need to know the contents of their private documents until the right time. But they may wish to appoint you as their power of attorney in case of a crisis.
The most important consideration is agreement between all the family members. That’s why communication is important. Also, love will overcome a multitude of obstacles. Furthermore, most of the planning and implementation will be of a practical nature. Once you’ve got the ball rolling it will gather it’s own momentum. And let’s not forget the ever important cups of tea and coffee and some nice cakes. They will keep everyone’s spirits up.
From all of us here, at Vermont Aged Care, we wish you many happy family years ahead. Until our next blog, goodbye dear readers.
This blog is intended to provide helpful advice. Please speak with your family GP for personalised information or, for specialist advice & support in Melbourne Australia, please contact VERMONT AGED CARE:
770 Canterbury Road, Vermont, Victoria, Australia 3133
Phone: +61 03-9873 5300. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org