Self-care and well-being are more important than ever, and it’s something people should prioritize. However, from social media accounts to books and reality television, there’s so much information on how to achieve balance in your life, it can become overwhelming—especially if you’re caring for elderly parents.
It’s commendable to act as a caretaker for a loved one, such as a parent, but how much care are you qualified or willing to provide?
Planning for retirement and old age is expected for seniors, but adult children should also plan for the day they may need to offer their parents extra support. If you’ve suddenly begun caring for elderly parents or are taking the initiative to prepare for it, you may have questions about your role.
When should I step in as my parents’ caretaker?
The more involved you are in your parents’ lives, the easier it is to see and anticipate changes in their lifestyle.
If you notice mom or dad isn’t partaking in some of their past hobbies, social circles, or routines, it can cause concern. Due to older age, they may be experiencing:
- Lack of confidence
- Less energy
- Decreasing strength
- Memory loss or dementia
Directly asking them what they want help with might be the best way to find out. It’s essential to make your parents a part of the conversation and not the conversation. Consider your parents’ need for independence and choice, not just your judgment. Beginning care that you perceive is best for them may have adverse effects.
What are the warning signs mom or dad may need a caretaker?
If the health of a loved one is at risk due to their advancing age, you may want to begin caretaking right away. However, take an inventory and analyze the roots of these warning signs:
- Are bills going unpaid?
- Is the home clean?
- Are they gaining or losing weight?
- Is the house accessible for their mobility level?
- Are medications being taken correctly?
- Are they regularly socializing?
- Do they get regular exercise?
- Have they been diagnosed with or are exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia?
It’s also not uncommon for aging parents to keep some things to themselves. Attempting to hide warning signs is especially true for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia who fear becoming a burden to their families.
Keep an eye out for the warning signs listed above that point to deeper issues.
How to Support Family Caregivers and Set Boundaries
If you and your parent have discussed and come to a conclusion together that acting as their caretaker is the next step, it’s time to set boundaries.
While you may be more than willing to cook meals, pay bills, and tidy up the house, you may not feel comfortable offering medical or personal care. It’s wise to set those boundaries ahead of time.
If possible, make a schedule and try to stick to it. To offer your loved ones the care they deserve, let them know how much time you have to devote to them. Stretching yourself too thin won’t do anyone any good.
It’s essential to plan for the future and understand what starts as small tasks may snowball into more extensive care situations. Caregiver burnout is a real problem. Prevent that scenario by foreseeing what you are and are not capable of as a caretaker.
If you’re wondering how to support family caregivers when it starts to feel overwhelming, consider the services you can find in a senior living community.
What are the solutions to the care that I can’t provide for my mom or dad?
Senior living can offer adult children and their parents the support they both need.
What’s best for you and your parents’ well-being is sometimes outside help. When you choose long-term care at an assisted living or memory care community like The Atrium at Boca Raton, you’re choosing to let your family go back to being a family.
Again, the decision to consider senior living should be one you make together. Not one forced upon an aging parent.
The team at The Atrium at Boca Raton is committed to you and your parents’ well-being:
- Personalized service plans
- Activities of daily living assistance
- Medication management
- Wellness and round-the-clock emergency assistance
- Weekly housekeeping and laundry services
The Atrium at Boca Raton may be able to go beyond the care your parent can experience at home by introducing them to daily activities, new hobbies, and an entire community of new friends.
Assisted living and memory care provide seniors with so many fulfilling activities like: