If your parents are aging, you may be starting to think about and talk about how they wish to be cared for over the next phase of their lives. You will need to address things like where they will live, who will be their caregiver and how they will receive medical care.
If they decide they have a desire to age in place and that you will become their caregiver you will want to look at a variety of different areas and assess your ability to care for them based on these areas. Spending time thinking and talking about these areas will help both you and your parent come to a clear understanding of what the needs will be and how she/he will want to address them.
While this is not an exhaustive list of the areas that you may want to address when you’re caring for a parent who is aging in place, it will give you a good starting point for your thoughts and discussions with your parent.
1.) Family support. You will want to talk about and think about who, in your family, can lend support to you if you’re going to be your parent’s caregiver. If you do not have enough family support this can be a red flag for your ability to provide the needed care on your own.
2.) Medical needs. In conjunction with your parent’s medical providers you’re going to want to assess her/his medical conditions and how that would affect the care that she/he will need. This should include an assessment of all health care needs including cognitive health. After a complete assessment you can speak with your parent about whether or not you are the right person to provide care over the long-term.
3.) Mobility. How your parent is able to move around her/his home on their own or with assistance is an important component of whether or not she/he will be able to live independently or will need significant assistance to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
4.) Personal Hygiene. One thing you may not consider when you’re thinking about being your parent’s caregiver is that you may need to assist her/him with their own personal hygiene. This may include things as simple as assistance facilitating hair cuts to day to day things like dressing or using the bathroom.
These four things are among the first things you should assess when thinking about how to move forward as the caregiver for a parent who is aging in place. Once you’ve looked at all of these areas you may think of other areas that you need to think about before you assume the responsibility of caring for your loved one.
It is so important to make sure you are prepared for all of these areas so that when you’ve made the commitment to care for your parent there are no surprises and you can do the job with the care and love which should be a part of the care giving your parent needs.