Caring for Elderly Parents and Options

Aging is a natural part of life that affects each of us sooner or later. As adults, a time usually comes when we have to make decisions about how to best care for our aging parents as they experience a potential decline in physical and mental health and, consequently, independence. 

While this can be a somewhat challenging thing to go through emotionally and financially, it can help tremendously to plan ahead and do your research so that you feel prepared when the time comes.

In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know in order to take care of your elderly parents, including what needs they have and your options for meeting them. 

The Needs of the Elderly

The needs of elderly people can be split up into two categories.

Activities of daily living are the essential activities required to maintain physical and emotional well-being, ensure dignity and meet daily living needs. The activities of daily living include:

  • Feeding
  • Moving, such as getting in and out of bed or a chair
  • Dressing
  • Bathing or showering
  • Personal hygiene, such as brushing hair, shaving, and grooming
  • Toilet hygiene including getting to the toilet, cleaning, and getting up from the toilet

Additionally, there are instrumental activities of daily living, which are activities that, while not essential, help a person live an independent life. These include: 

  • Cooking and preparing meals
  • Cleaning 
  • Shopping
  • Running errands
  • Paying bills
  • Using devices such as phones
  • Taking medications 

In order for elderly parents to live a healthy life, they need to have both of these activity types taken care of regularly. When your parents can’t take care of their activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living independently, it’s important to arrange help. 

Options for Taking Care of Aging Parents

There are several options for arrangements you can choose to help your elderly parents based on their exact state and needs.

1. Remote Monitoring 

Most older adults prefer to remain in their homes and community. If your parents can take care of their own activities of daily living and can mostly handle instrumental activities of daily living on their own, the best option may be to help and monitor them as they continue to live alone. 

There are remote home monitoring systems for seniors that are created to help you make sure your parents are meeting their own needs. These systems, combined with regular visits and other forms of assistance such as helping with errands, are a great option that will give you peace of mind that your loved ones are protected while allowing them to maintain their routine and independence. 

2. Moving In Together

If you prefer to be able to monitor your parents more closely on a daily basis, you have the option of moving them in with you. This will require more effort and commitment from you as a caregiver. You will need to be able to alter your home to safely accommodate your elderly parents, including adding railings, installing safety locks, making a bedroom available on the first floor, and providing ongoing care. Not everybody has the ability to commit to this option, but some may prefer it.

3. In-Home Care

In-home care is a great option that allows your parents to continue to live in their own home, but with the monitoring and help of trained professional caregivers. In-home care can include both activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. This option offers the benefits of comfort, one-on-one attention, peace of mind, and companionship. It is possible that your parents will prefer this over moving to an assisted living facility or independent living community. It may also be more cost-effective. 

4. Independent Living Communities 

Independent living communities, also called retirement communities, are housing options for seniors. The exact living options may vary from standalone homes to apartments, but generally speaking, they all offer the benefits of elderly-friendly architecture as well as social interaction. Independent living communities typically include amenities such as laundry services and fitness centers, as well as interest groups and activities catered to older adults. This is a great option for elderly adults who do not require help with activities of daily living and can safely live alone. 

5. Assisted Living Facilities 

Assisted living facilities are similar to independent living communities but offer personal care services in order to help with the activities of daily living including meals, dressing, bathing, and transportation. 

6. Nursing Homes

Nursing homes offer round-the-clock medical care to seniors and disabled people who need help with both personal care and medical services. They are a good option for elderly people who require help with activities of daily living in addition to needing medical care and monitoring. 

Note that living in a nursing home comes with a risk of nursing home abuse and neglect, which is defined as the intentional or unintentional harm of nursing home residents by staff members. 

If you decide that a nursing home is the best option for your elderly parents, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the different types of nursing home abuse and their warning signs. This way, you will be able to regularly check in and monitor your parents to ensure that they are being properly cared for and not harmed in any way.

If you do suspect or identify that your parents have been victims of nursing home abuse, you have several options of people and organizations you can contact for help. Additionally, you can take legal action in order to receive justice and compensation for your family’s pain and suffering. Contact a nursing home abuse attorney for a free consultation on your case.

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