Perhaps on a recent visit with your aging parents, it became apparent that keeping up with household tasks is challenging for them. Or maybe during a phone call, you realized that Mom is having some minor memory issues and you worry about her remembering to take her medications regularly. Whether you live down the block or across the country, ensuring that aging parents are healthy and safe at home can feel overwhelming, particularly if you are new to family caregiving.
To help outline practical steps and a plan that prioritizes not just safety, but independence and overall health and wellbeing, the care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer the following recommendations:
Determine the needs of your parents. Consider the tasks involved in day-to-day life and make an assessment based upon how much help may be needed in the following categories:
- Home safety and upkeep
- Cognitive health
- Medical needs
- Meal preparation
- Personal hygiene
- Social interaction
- Family support
Consider your own abilities and station in life. While your first reaction may be to handle all of your parents’ care needs yourself, it’s important to consider your own situation and capabilities. Not everyone is cut out for hands-on family caregiving, and that’s OK. You can still be supportive and keep your aging parents’ best interests at the forefront by ensuring that they are safe and thriving at home. When assessing your ability to provide care, make an honest assessment of the following:
- Do you live in close proximity, allowing you to visit whenever assistance is needed?
- Would you consider living with your parents, either at your home or at theirs?
- Do you have any health issues or physical limitations that would make physically caring for someone a challenge?
- Do you have a spouse, school-aged children or a career that requires time and attention?
- Do you have a relationship with your parents that can withstand a great deal of time together?
- Are you willing to take the time to learn proper care techniques to keep both you and your parents safe?
Engage your parents in discussions about care. Research shows that most older adults want to age in place and remain at home for as long as possible. It’s important to have multiple conversations with aging parents to determine their care wishes. By having honest two-way discussions about care needs, older adults are able to be involved in planning for their care and can feel empowered knowing their voice is being heard. Older adults are frequently worried about losing independence and are hesitant about having outside help – either from a family member or from a professional caregiver. Use these conversations as an opportunity to reemphasize that you understand their wishes and are working to honor those, while also prioritizing health and safety.
Prioritize home safety. Keeping the home environment safe and free from fall hazards is vitally important. Falls can lead to serious injury and hospitalization. Help your parents reduce their fall risk with these tips:
- Make sure pathways are clear, especially from the bedroom to the bathroom, and free from cords, throw rugs and other tripping hazards.
- Install or update lighting so that rooms, indoor pathways, and outdoor walkways are well lit.
- Install grab bars in the bathroom and check that handrails along stairwells inside and outside are secure and sturdy.
- Move frequently used items to cabinets and shelves that are at counter height, eliminating the need for a step-stool.
- Have the names and contact information for nearby neighbors and
- Compile a list of your parents’ physicians and any over the counter or prescription medications they are taking.
friends you can contact in case of an emergency.
Partner with the aging care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care. With experienced referred care providers who can assist with a variety of needs, families can feel confident that their loved ones are engaged, safe and enjoying life. Our services include:
- Alzheimer’s and dementia care– Specialized training enables referred care providers to offer engaging companionship, a structured daily routine that prioritizes safety, memory care activities, and more.
- Companion care– Companion or homemaker care includes services such as nutritious meal and snack preparation, light housekeeping, companionship, transportation for errands, social engagement or medical appointments.
- Personal care– Personal care services are provided by CNAs or HHAs, who can help your loved one with bathing or showering, personal hygiene, transferring and getting around, eating, using the bathroom, dressing, and much more.
- Respite care– Respite care helps family caregivers by providing them with a break to attend to their own needs, from lunch dates with friends to routine medical appointments. Respite care is available anywhere from a few hours each week to overnight.
- Post-operative care– Following a hospital stay or surgery, post-operative care helps seniors transition home so that the focus can be on rest and recovery. RNs and LPNs who specialize in surgical aftercare work closely with the senior’s physicians to ensure recovery goals and pain management needs are met.
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661