Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.

Episode 49: How To Help Your Aging Parents Stay At Home

March 29, 2023 Janet Engel Season 4 Episode 49
Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.
Episode 49: How To Help Your Aging Parents Stay At Home
Show Notes Transcript

As your parents age, they may need more help staying at home.

There are many ways to help them stay independent and safe in their own home.

Working as an occupational therapist for many years, I had the opportunity to work with many different families, who of course had differing ideas about how to tackle this issue.

Fortunately, there is a lot of useful information on how to improve home safety and the health of your aging parent.

These 2 factors will play the biggest role in their ability to age in place and determine how much help they will need from their adult children.

Please listen to learn more about helping your parents age in place.

Full Article : How To Help Your Aging Parents Stay At Home

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Hello everyone and thank you for being with me today. This podcast is going to be about how to help your aging parents stay at home. The reason why I wanted to do a podcast on caregiving is because there are quite a lot of caregivers in the US.. Did you know that there are approximately 39.8 million caregivers who provide care to adults with a disability or an illness that equates to 16.6% of Americans. and the number is only going to grow as baby boomers get older every year, and it's going to continue to grow until about 2035. So it is very important to be as educated as possible in this area because we all have either parents or loved ones that are older and we care for. So there are many ways to help older adults or your parents stay independent and safe in their home. Working as an occupational therapist for many years, I had the opportunity to work with many different families who of course had different ideas about how to tackle this issue. Fortunately, there is a lot of useful information on how to improve home safety and the health of your aging parent. I found that these two factors will play the biggest role in their ability to age in place and determine how much help they will need from their adult children. So I've come up with a few tips to help caregivers navigate this process. Number one, talk to your parents about their needs. What are they struggling with? What do they need help with? This will help you understand what kind of help they will need and how to provide it. Make a list of tasks that need to be done. This could be things like cooking, cleaning, shopping, and transportation, hire help if needed. There are many services available to help older adults, such as in-home care, meal delivery, and transportation. Making their home safe and accessible is also a huge part of aging in place. Anne has the potential to prevent falls, make sure that there are no tripping hazards, and that they have access to things like the bathroom and the kitchen. It is important to make your parents home safe and accessible. Encourage them to stay social with friends and family and to participate in activities that they enjoy. This will help them stay connected with others and feel supported. It is also a huge part of maintaining quality of life. As you age, be patient and understanding. Caring for aging parents can be challenging, but it is also a rewarding experience. Make sure your parents have access to medical care that they are seeing a doctor regularly and they are up to date on their vaccinations. You can also help your parents with their finances, such as creating a budget or helping them pay bills plan for the future. Talk to your parents about their wishes for their care in the event that they become unable to care for themselves. Talking about this ahead of time and putting it in writing will save a lot of headache and infighting. This was something I saw as an ot. Time and time again that siblings could not agree on what was the best plan for their parent to either stay home or move to an independent or an assisted living facility. You may ask, is it safe for my aging parent to live alone? Whether it is safe for an aging parent to live alone depends on a number of factors, including the parent's health, mental state, and the availability of support. Some older adults are able to live independently for many years. or throughout their entire lifetime without any problems. However, others may experience a decline in their health or mental abilities, which can make it difficult for them to live safely on their own. You can talk to your parent about your concerns. Ask them about their health, their mental state, how are they managing their daily lives? You can also make steps to make your parents home safer, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom, perhaps even in the bedroom or in the hallway, and making sure that there are no tripping hazards on the floor. Increasing lighting is a huge part of fall prevention. You can also install fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector, and if you're unable to provide care for your aging parent yourself, you can look into hiring a home care aid, or moving them to an assisted living facility. But before making any big decisions, you can always contact the help. Of a geriatric care manager, they can review all the care options available in your community and help you make the best decision for your aging parent. What to do with difficult parents. I think we can all agree or say that our parents have been difficult at some point for some reason or another. Dealing with difficult parents can be challenging. First of all, you wanna set boundaries. This means being clear about what you are and are not willing to do. It also means being willing to walk away from a conversation if it becomes too difficult. be patient. It is important to be patient with difficult parents. They may be struggling with their own issues and they may not be able to see things from your perspective. Find support. It can be helpful to find support from other people who are dealing with difficult parents. This could include friends, other family members, or even a, therapist. and remember, it is always important to take care of yourself. If you don't take care of yourself, you cannot care for someone else. This means making sure that you're getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising. It also means taking breaks from the stress of dealing with caregiving duties. there are many resources that can help you if you are having a difficult time and you can find support from others who are dealing with similar situations. Going to support groups is a great way to do this, or just talking to friends and family that also have aging parents. What are the basic ways of caring for the elderly at home? One of the most important things you can do for a loved one is to provide them with companionship. This can be done by spending time with them taking. Them to their favorite activities, such as perhaps seeing a movie or maybe even grocery shopping, or simply just being there for them, helping them with daily tasks. They may need help with tasks such as bathing, dressing, and cooking. You can provide this help by either hiring a home care aid or by doing some of these tasks yourself. Monitor their health. This means keeping an eye on their medications, their diet, and their overall wellbeing. One of the most common reasons why older adults end up in the hospital is because they take their medications incorrectly. And what I mean by this is that they can be taking too much. of their medication or not enough. And this can land you in the hospital. Also, take them to regular doctor's visits. helping them stay active is a huge part of aging in place and maintaining quality of life. Just because people get older doesn't mean they shouldn't engage in regular exercise. In fact, regular exercise is crucial to helping prevent falls. It plays a big part in mental health. and it can also increase their overall health. This can be done by encouraging them to go outside, exercise in nature, participate in social activities, or perhaps even do volunteer work. Be patient and understanding. Caring for elderly loved ones can be challenging. It is important to be patient. Remember that they are going through a difficult time. Aging is not for the faint of heart, and they may need your help and support should you give up your life to care for an elderly parent?. The answer is no. It is important to find a balance between your own needs and the needs of your parent. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it is important to take a break and to seek help from other family members or professionals. There are many ways to help your parents without giving up your life. You can hire home care a move your. into an assisted living, if that's the only or the best option for them. There are also many resources available to help you, such as support groups and online forums. how to help your parents with finances? Well, there are many ways you can do that. Number one, you can talk to them about their finances. It's important to understand their situation. This will help you identify any areas where they may need help. Offer to help with bill pay. This can be helpful. And it's a way to ensure that their bills are paid on time and that they do not fall behind. Helping them create a budget. They can track their income and expenses, and this can help them to make sure that they are not spending more money than they have, or perhaps not giving themselves the quality of life that they can afford. Help them with their investments. You can help them manage them. This can help them to make sure that their investments are performing well and that they are not losing money. You can also help them with estate planning. This includes making sure that they have a will and that they have designated beneficiaries for their assets. Unfortunately, this is something that many people do not take the time to do, and this also results in fighting when someone passes away or they're not able to make decisions on their own. How about if you don't live in the same area where your parents live? This has become more and more common as time has gone by. So one thing you can do is talk to them regularly. Make sure that you stay in touch with your parents, either by phone, email, or video chat. Now we have Alexa especially using. Alexa Echo Show. You can FaceTime with your parents if each person has one, and you can also drop in to your parents' house as long as they give you access to do that, you can visit them as much as possible. This may only be possible once or twice a year, but it's better than nothing. Be there emotionally for your parents. Listen to them and offer them support and be prepared to make decisions for them, such as financial decisions or medical decisions. Make sure that it is clear who the medical power of attorney is and the financial power of attorney. It is important to remember that you cannot do everything for your parents. They may need to rely on other people for help, such as neighbors, family members, friends, or perhaps professionals. However, you can still be there for them and offer them your support. How about aging parents who do not want your help? So that's certainly. Can be the case for some people. Be patient and understanding. They may be resistant to help because they feel like they are still capable of taking care of themselves. Talk to them about their fears. They may be afraid of losing their independence or of being a burden to others. Offer help with specific tasks. This will show them that you're willing to help without taking over their lives. Get professional help. There are many resources available to help families who are dealing with aging parents, There are a variety of reasons why someone may need assistance as they get older. It may be due to physical limitations, cognitive decline, or medical issues. One of the first steps in caring for an older parent or family member is to assess their needs. and determine the level of care required. This can be done in consultation with medical professionals such as geriatric care managers or social workers who can provide guidance on the best way to ensure the seniors healthcare needs are met. Depending on their needs, seniors may benefit from in-home. Perhaps moving with another family member or yourself, or having some home modifications in order for their home to be safer. For those who prefer to remain in their own home, as many people do, at least about 75 to 85% of older adults want to stay in their homes. There are a variety of resources available to help them. As I said, you can have a certified aging in place specialist, come to the home, assess the home, and. Come up with recommendations as to how they can make their homes safer. There can be family meetings. That's a great way to discuss a senior's needs and help come up with a long-term care plan that works for everyone involved. Respite Care can provide family caregivers with a much needed break. While adult daycare can provide seniors with a social outlet and a variety of activities to engage in local resources such as the elder care locator and state programs can provide valuable inform. On available services and support. Financial planning is also an important consideration. The average cost of long-term care can be high, but there are a variety of options to help cover the costs. Medical information, quality of life, and disease control are all important factors to consider when planning for the long-term care needs of an older family member. I hope that you enjoyed this podcast. I wrote an article on this which includes more information and resources. I will post it on the show notes and thank you again for listening and spending time with me, and I hope that you will return next week.