10 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Parent’s Caregiver
A familiar scenario: Mom and Dad are getting older and having difficulties in completing day to day tasks. Mom left the stove on, forgot to take her medications, and cannot keep the house up. Dad keeps falling, struggling to get to the bathroom on time, and can’t let go of his independence when it comes to driving. Maybe they have a chronic illness or possibly their health has declined suddenly. Our first thought is to try and move our parents in with us children. This decision is not an easy one. While there may be positives to the scenario such as financial assistance, peace of mind in knowing they are safe, and even the opportunity to form a closer bond, there is still a lot to think about before the transition should be made. The in-home caregiving may work for many families, but it is a demanding role that can include providing medical care tasks such as administering medication or dressing wounds, cleaning, bathing, toileting, coordinating physician appointments, taking over financial records, being the sole source of transportation, the source of social engagement, and overall being an advocate for your parent or loved one. There are many things you will have to take into account such as the safeness of your home, your surrounding support system, your availability, personality conflicts with your loved one, your own health, and the ability to make this commitment long term. Can you juggle being a mom, wife, housekeeper, employee, community member, and also a caregiver? Being a full-time caregiver can affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Just thinking through these few things may have you wanting to look into something more, but if you’re still confident you can be an adequate caregiver, ask yourself these questions:
Is my home safe and accessible for my loved one? If not, do I have the resources to remodel?
Am I capable of caring for my loved one or should/can I hire outside help for additional caregiver assistance?
Do I understand and have the financial stability to care for another person?
Do I have the time to care for my loved one? Can they be left alone for periods of time? Can I let go of other commitments? Will I have time for other family or things I love?
Do I have legal authority to make decision for my loved one?
Do I have the support and resources I need to care for my loved one? Can family members take turns and relieve each other of the role at times?
Am I healthy enough and physically capable of taking on this role?
Will I lose my job if my home duties require more of me?
Do I get along with my loved one? Does the rest of my family get along with my loved one and do they agree to the move?
Will my loved one take on my house-hold rules, respect my values, and support my decisions as an adult, parent, and caregiver?
It’s important to be prepared and informed for the future. To be able to think through and answer these questions will assist you in the important decision if your loved one should make the transition to living in your home. Research their illness or disease and be prepared to manage and cope with symptoms and possible behaviors. Be sure to look into resources that are available to caregivers. For instance, if your loved one is on hospice, there is a benefit called respite care where they may enter a long-term care facility for a short period of time and is used to relieve caregivers or encourage them to take a vacation. If any of these questions are difficult to answer, then it may be time to consider long-term care at a skilled nursing facility. There are many benefits in making this transition including 24 hour a day nursing care, plenty of staff on board to assist needs, housekeeping, dietary, on-site physician, social engagement, safe home and environment, and even as needed physical therapy. The best thing to do is to get educated! Research, ask questions, visit facilities. The admission team at Mitchell-Hollingsworth is always available to talk and answer questions. Whether the plan of transition is now or way on into the future, it never hurts to call and ask.