Millions of Americans work very hard serving as caregivers to keep their elderly parents aging in place at home. Over the years you’ve probably heard your own mom and dad say:
“I’m never going into one of those places”.
Because you love them you’ll do anything to honor those wishes. In addition, assisted living facilities can cost $5,000 or more a month, and most of us want our parents to continue enjoying the hard-earned money they’ve set aside. But trying to juggle your parents’ at-home care requirements with an already busy lifestyle can get overwhelming. To help lighten your workload, here are some proven ways to help keep your elderly parents aging in place at home for as long as possible.
Identify Caregiving Priorities
Instead of using a “shotgun” approach to their daily or weekly living assistance needs, take a few minutes to sit down and compile a list of caregiving priorities. Those will vary based upon your parents’ physical and mental condition, and could encompass the following:
- Yardwork and other outside chores
- Medication monitoring
- Grocery shopping, meal preparation and cleanup
- Personal hygiene assistance
- Bill paying and other financial responsibilities
Once your list is ready, prioritize things you can do and how often they need to be done. Do either one of them require constant monitoring at this stage? Do mom or dad show signs of dementia or other cognitive impairment that jeopardizes their health and safety? Once you’ve established your list of caregiving priorities, decide how often they need to be done.
Set Realistic Caregiving Goals
Now that your caregiving task list is ready, honestly consider how much time you can devote to their care within a given time frame, for example a week. One of the biggest challenges many family caregivers face is overdoing it while neglecting their own health, households and relationships. To ensure your wellbeing, set realistic goals for tasks you can take on without running yourself ragged.
Share the Caregiving Workload
If you get burned out your parents’ health and happiness will also suffer. To lighten your caregiving workload, seek out ways to save time and energy while ensuring your mom and dad still get the care they deserve. Some of the ways to do so include these:
Simplify as Many Tasks as Possible
Many grocery stores now offer free food deliveries within a given geographic radius. Order groceries online for your folks and have them delivered right to their front door. Also, enroll your parents in online bill paying and banking to save valuable time and effort. Simplifying as many weekly tasks as possible will go a long way in keeping you fresh and your parents aging in place.