While determining whether to place your aging parents or elderly family members into assisted living think about an alternative. At-home caregivers. Home care has its advantages and disadvantages when taking care of older adults. You’ll need to consider what the health of the loved one is and what types of health care they need.
Are they simply recovering from an injury that requires short-term care, or do your parents need constant long term care? No matter the amount of time, adult children becoming the family caregiver for loved ones is hard work. Caring for the elderly requires compassion and patience. If you don’t have the time and dedication required, there are plenty of at-home family caregivers for hire.
How to Make Living with Elderly Parents and Loved Ones Easier
Kudos to you if you decide to care for your aging parents at home. Here are 5 Tips to Make Living with Elderly Parents a little easier for you and them.
- Medication Preparation and Planning
- Calendar of Events and Appointments
- Assign a Daily Task or Chore
- Use Sticky Notes as Reminders
- Prepare Meals and Snacks For Easy, Healthy Eating
Medication Preparation and Planning
Sometimes medication can be a matter of life or death, especially in older individuals. Ensuring proper daily dosages is extremely important and should be verified completely. As our bodies age, so does our memory. Remembering whether a pill was taken before or after breakfast, or at all, isn’t as easy when we get older.
Properly preparing our loved ones’ medications and vitamins for the week can give you and them some peace of mind. Make it a weekly task to organize and separate pills. We use a 7-day pill organizer that we picked up on Amazon and it works great. Every Sunday evening my wife spends about 10 minutes placing the right medication in the correct spot of the week. Then with a quick glance by any of us, we can be assured he’s taken his pills for the day.
Calendar of Events and Appointments
If you’re anything like me you keep all of your appointments and events on your phone. There’s nothing easier than to take a quick peek at my home screen and see that my anniversary is tomorrow. Pheww…
Most older folks don’t use smartphones and rely on pen and paper. There’s nothing wrong with that, and something I think we should all get back to doing sometimes. Because of this though, Doctor appointments and lunch dates with friends could easily be overlooked. Having a large print calendar visible for the whole family makes remembering a bit easier.
We write down everything we have planned whether it includes her father or not. Everything is included, birthdays, anniversaries, appointments or dates. Another great habit we got into was crossing off the days as they passed. This makes finding today a little quicker. Her father can know exactly when his foot doctor appointment is in June, just by flipping the calendar.
Assign a Daily Task or Chore
Often times when aging family comes to live with us, they no longer have the financial support for themselves. This can make them feel as if they aren’t contributing or at times even worthless. We know this is far from the truth and we’d do anything for them, but take a look from their shoes.
For the majority of their lives, they’ve been the caregiver to you or your spouse. Now they’ve reached a point where the roles are reversed. It’s a scary feeling I’m sure, and something we can help ease by assigning them a simple daily “chore”.
Obviously, the chore should be based on the abilities of your loved one. For my father-in-law, the bigger the task, the more eager he usually is. One of his daily chores is to get the mail. Every single day at about 2:30 he puts his jacket on and strolls the 2 minutes down the road to our mailbox. Some days he returns empty-handed, only to turn around at 3:30 and try again. That’s his chore and he does it every day. Unless it’s raining. 🙂
- A few ideas could be
- Clean the dinner dishes
- Walk the dog
- Water the indoor plants
Use Sticky Notes as Reminders
This one is probably my most favorite and potentially life-saving. My father-in-law is hard of hearing. Things like water running or the electric ignition on the stove are completely void. Before I started using sticky notes around the house, I would walk into the bathroom an hour after him only to see the water running. Now, by the door, we have a small yellow post-it note reminding him to check the water.
If you need to make sure your loved one locks the door when they come into the house, leave a post-it right there. This way upon entering the house and seeing the note, they’ll be reminded. There are many areas around the house this could come in handy. Do they need to be reminded to brush their teeth, or eat a snack at a certain time? Sticky notes can save quite a bit of headache.
Prepare Meals and Snacks For Easy, Healthy Eating
To make your family members feel more independent, getting their own meals is sometimes important for that. If you’re ok with your elderly father using the gas stove, by all means let them. We however don’t like the idea of him and fire when we aren’t home. This is where meal and snack preparation can really lend a hand.
I meal prep for healthy living and strict dieting reasons, so adding another person to my plan was simple. I’ll typically cook a few pounds of chicken in the slow cooker and then shred it. Then I divide up portions for me and portions for him. I season mine the way I like and generally leave his plain. I’ll add some rice and vegetables and seal them up.
I’ll write his initials on the container and throw them in the fridge. When he’s hungry he can pull it out, toss it in the microwave and enjoy. This method not only ensures he’s not burning the house down but that he’s eating healthy and properly.
Click here for more information on meal prepping and planning.
Hopefully these 5 tips help you make living with elderly parents or loved ones a little easier for everyone.
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