With an ageing population in the UK, there are more and more demands for care options and support for elderly people. There will often be a variety of scenarios that will lend themselves to the right solutions and many choose to start the care journey by doing it themselves and find ways to care for elderly parents. In particular when it comes to caring for elderly parents, it can raise a whole host of emotions and new situations that need to be addressed. What is often underestimated is the level of commitment that is required and how it can often lead to upsetting or stressful times. It can have an effect on not just the people receiving the care but the care givers too and their families. It can be extremely distressing to see your parents in a state of ill health and having to look after them and deal with the challenges that arise can affect even the strongest person. There are often cases of resentment too because it takes up so much time and care givers often feel that they are missing out on their own lives in order to deliver the care. If someone feels that they are doing the lion’s share of the work too then ill feeling can be directed towards everyone around too, particularly if there are siblings or other family members who aren’t seen as helping out.
It’s not necessarily all negativity though and with our tips on what to consider when caring for elderly parents, care givers can make the best of a situation that they probably wouldn’t choose to be in.
While you may have your hands full with the caring and looking after your parents, there are some things that you could buy in or seek help with. Things like cleaning and meal preparation can be performed by outside companies leaving you to do the more intimate and care based duties. But if you need a break, there are options for things like companionship too. Organisations like Age Concern offer services where volunteers can visit and offer companionship and provide respite for the care giver.
Local authority assistance
You may not think that you or your parents are eligible for funding and support but there are always options. It may not be exactly what you need or what you think you are entitled to but it’s definitely worth exploring. The Care Act 2014 gives anyone in a caring situation the opportunity to be assessed in terms of their needs and what they may be entitled to regarding support. There are often areas and options that you may not have considered but could actually really help.
One of the biggest issues that care receivers face is the prospect of upheaval and change. This can come in many forms whether it’s the inability to perform certain tasks and a loss of independence or the prospect of having to move out of the family home to a care facility. Something to consider is bringing in care support to the persons home rather than them having to move out. It can have a drastically positive effect knowing that your family member or friend can stay in their own surroundings. This could be from the familiarity of staying at home to things like pets being able to stay with your loved one. Our blog on the benefits of receiving domiciliary care gives more details and if you’d like to speak to someone then give us a call and we can talk you through the care provider options that may be available to you. Our work with many clients in their own homes has led to an extension in their quality of life and given hope when they thought there were no other alternatives.
Before you even start to begin a journey of caring for elderly parents, it’s vital that everyone is on board with what is required. It’s not something that can be done in isolation, if there is support from family members then that can make all the difference to share the burden. However, as a family unit, everyone has to be in agreement on what the course of action is. If one sibling is keen to provide care but another isn’t then this will inevitably lead to resentment on both sides with one taking on more than the other. A frank and open conversation is needed which may lead to some difficult decisions but it will be worth it in the long run.
Make a family plan
Following on from the decision of the family to care for parents then it’s best to make a plan. If everyone involved knows and understands what their role is and when they should be there then it will make things so much easier. Often families will clash not because of the duties or the commitment but more because there is a feeling of inequality of the share of the work. A plan that everyone agrees on is the best way to avoid that. Remember too that dividing the responsibilities is important, it’s no good having one person dealing with the more demanding roles while another simply coasts by. Creating a rota or schedule that everyone can refer too is a great way to address this.
Make time for fun
This is so important for both yourself and your parent. Just because you are caring for them, whatever their situation might be, that doesn’t mean that you can’t or they don’t want to still enjoy themselves. If they are capable then take them out for a trip, visit friends and relatives or go through old photograph albums, it just may be worth considering the value of the time you’re spending with them.
Don’t put your life on hold
Finally, this could be a huge job in front of you with no foreseeable conclusion. It’s a big commitment but that doesn’t mean that you have to put your own life on hold. It’s fair to say that some things may have to take a back seat or temporarily stop but it doesn’t mean that everything should. It’s just as important that you maintain your own life and get the respite and relief that you need otherwise you’ll burn out or resentment will start to creep in.
There’s no doubt that caring for parents can be an upsetting and stressful experience. It’s like reversing the roles from when they looked after you and the thought of that isn’t pleasant, that’s why it really has to be carefully considered before making the decision to go ahead. The key is to remember that you don’t have to be alone in carrying out the role and there is support whether there is family around or not. Our staff are vastly experienced in the care industry and can help you through the issues that you will come across, if you need advice and support call us on 01564 784 598 or get in contact today