When your parents begin to grow older, there is a time when, unfortunately, your worst fears become real: They lose the ability to lead a safe and independent lifestyle. Whether it’s the result of reduced mobility or of transformed cognitive abilities – such as the result of suffering from mild dementia – you know that you can’t let your parents live alone anymore. For a lot of families, the best decision is to invite aging relatives to move in so that they don’t have to be on their own. However, becoming a caregiver for your parents can only work if you’re prepared for this eventuality. There are some things you will need to clarify before you can invite them.
Can You Look After Your Parents?
Do You Know What You’re Doing?
First of all, caring for another person requires a basic understanding of healthcare. You can’t be a supportive helper if you don’t know how to best maintain their health. You may need to administer medication or to help them to bathe. If you aren’t sure about the best methods to follow, you might want to follow an online nursing program to keep your knowledge up-to-date. In addition, if your parent requires dedicated and specialist health support, you might find it easier to work directly with a professional nurse – under your roof or in a nursing home.
Can You Keep Your Household Organized?
If you already find it challenging to keep your home clear of mess and clutter on a day-to-day basis, you might struggle to accommodate a new lifestyle with your parents under the same roof. Dusting, cleaning up, vacuuming and ensuring that your relative is safe and healthy: that’s a lot of work! But you can share the chores list with your kids to make sure everyone is doing their part! You might also want to get additional storage solutions to keep all the stuff you don’t use regularly stored away. This will free some space!
Do You Have Enough Time to Look After Them?
Do you work full-time in an office? If you do, you need to know that you can’t be a caregiver and an office employee at the same time. However, you can accommodate home-based employment with your caregiving activities, depending on the level of independence your parents have. Bloggers or marketing experts can work from home and make a decent living while keeping plenty of time to be there for your relative. You also need to accept that old people who have lost too much mobility or cognitive abilities will need your help 24/7.
Is Everyone On Board With It?
Ultimately, becoming a caregiver for your parents is not something you can and should decide on your own. It’s a decision you need to share with your family. Your partner and your children need to know about the consequences and be ready to accept these. Similarly, your parents, if they are still able to understand, need to agree to live with you. The only way the arrangement can work is if everyone is happy with it.
While we all want our parents to be part of our lives for as long as possible, you have to be ready for the eventuality of looking after them – and whether you are capable of taking that step. From healthcare know-how to household maintenance, there’s a lot to do to keep your parents safe and happy along with the rest of your family.
Are you a caregiver for your parents living with you? Share your tips in the comments below with us.