There is a substantial and growing population of seniors in the US with recent estimates placing the number over 54 million. Many seniors will remain relatively healthy and self-sufficient for years or even decades to come. At a certain point, though, most seniors will need support at some level.
Some will enter into retirement or nursing facilities. Yet, millions of adult children end up taking on the duties of caring for elderly parents. Caring for an aging parent or elderly parent and maintaining senior wellness can prove challenging and stressful.
If this sounds like your situation, keep reading for three tips that will help make caring for an elderly parent run a little smoother.
1. Get Organized
Getting organized is one of the biggest favors you can do yourself in terms of senior care. For example, creating and maintaining a schedule helps eliminate a lot of challenges. This can also prove particularly helpful for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Setting up things like pill organizers eliminates the mystery of whether or not someone got their medication. You can just look at the organizer and know.
You can also set up checklists for yourself and for others if you use outside help. For a good example of a checklist, you can read more now.
2. Explore Other Options
Many people who assume responsibility for their aging mother or father see it as an all-or-nothing choice. Either you take on all of the responsibility or you enroll your parent into a senior living facility of some kind. There are other senior care options you can explore.
For example, you can hire someone to provide in-home care. Even one or two days a week of this kind of care can provide you with a mental relief valve.
Many seniors find themselves in low-grade or even severe states of depression. Seeking out mental health options for them can help resolve many frustrating behaviors.
3. Engage in Self-Care
Taking care of your aging parent can become an all-consuming part of your life. It’s very easy for someone to neglect their own needs and health in favor of their parents. If you burn out or let your own health slip, it will make senior care even more difficult.
Schedule time for yourself, even if it’s just a few hours a week to indulge in a hobby. Keep an eye on your own diet and fitness needs.
Caring for Elderly Parents and You
Caring for elderly parents is often challenging, frustrating, and exhausting. It can become an ongoing stressor for yourself, your spouse, and even your children. There are ways you can help smooth out the process and reduce that stress.
Get your home and your life organized. Create schedules and checklists so everyone knows where they should be and when.
Look for other senior care options, like in-home assistance. Take some time for yourself and your own well-being. These can go a long way toward avoiding burnout.
Looking for more family life tips? Check out the posts over in our Parent Tips section.