In time, we all face the role reversal that comes from being parented by our parents to having to care for our parents like a parent. Indeed taking care of elderly parents can be hard work; as not only do you need to tend to their medical and physiological needs but also their social and emotional needs. In reality, this can be a tiring uphill struggle, particularly when dealing with illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, so here are few tips that will help lighten the load and take some of the weight off your shoulders.
HIRE A CLEANER
Often, cleaning and undertaking daily or weekly chores can be a core component of the time you spend with your parents looking after their needs; which, whilst essential in many respects this time could be better invested in engaging and interacting with them on a social level. If you can afford to outsource the cleaning to an external cleaner, this will free up your time to connect and engage. One of the most common issues amongst old people is a lack of social engagement – so pass the torch (or in this case, the brush) to someone else to take care of the cleaning and you start caring for the emotional state of the person you are working so hard to look after.
OUTSOURCE THE CARE
It might not always feel like the nicest of options, but there is a time and a place for outsourcing some of your parent’s care. The cost of this can be pretty expensive, and whilst you’re paying a premium price you’re not always getting the premium service one would expect. In fact, carers are some of the lowest paid members of the health community which can lead to a particularly young workforce who are inexperienced to deal with the challenges clients face in a tactful and caring way.
However, there are a number of services such as Seniors for Seniors elder care services that provide more mature and experienced carers who work from a place of passion, care and consideration – most likely having experienced something themselves with their own parents, this level of empathy and tactful interaction with their clients is a highly valued commodity you are unlikely to find with younger carers.
HIRE A GARDENER
In a similar vein to hiring a cleaner, hiring a gardener to maintain aspects such as keeping the lawn trimmed and tending to leaves in the driveway (particularly useful if your parent could be at risk of slipping and falling) – these are jobs that are tempting to take on yourself, but outsourcing these jobs to a gardener, or even a family member, such as a child – will free your time up to care for more pressing emotional needs.
The golden thread throughout these ideas is that of outsourcing aspects of practical care so that you can focus more on engaging with the emotional aspects of your parent; in reality, they would most likely appreciate a day out by the seaside or a companion to watch their favourite TV show than have you rattling around in the kitchen; checking up on them to see if they have taken their medication. Therefore, try to outsource as much as you can and focus on being their trusted friend rather than their ‘home help’