Being a caregiver requires stamina, availability, and patience. If you will eventually become the caregiver of your parent, it is best to prepare before you are in the situation. Taking the time in advance to consider how you will handle caregiving can help make the transition smoother. Consider the following tips to help you prepare for your role as caregiver to an aging parent.
Ask Questions of Your Parent
First, have a conversation with your parent to find out their wishes. Do they want to stay in their home as long as possible? Do they want you to be their caregiver? What expectations do they have? What are their diagnosed medical conditions.
Having a knowledge of your parent's preferences will help you figure out what type of care they want from the beginning. By asking questions before you start care, you can avoid potential disagreements or discomforts.
Ask Questions of Yourself
Now that you know how your parent feels, ask yourself important questions. Do you have the time and patience to coordinate medical appointments and provide medical and personal care tasks for your parent? Will you be able to add these tasks to the other items you are responsible for in your life? Will you need to reduce your work hours or seek additional help in your own home? Do you have the availability and stamina required? Are you comfortable with the role reversal?
It is important to answer these questions early so you can prepare for the role or determine an alternate plan. Caregiving may seem like the right thing for you to do, but it comes with its own set of challenges. The last thing you or your parent needs is for you to become burned out.
Before you begin as a caregiver, it is helpful to determine what resources are available in your area. Look for support group options so you can reach out to other caregivers. See if your community has daytime programs for seniors. Does your local hospital provide training classes for caregivers? Look at home health aide options in case you need support or a break. Also, consider which friends and family members you can ask for assistance. Create a list of the support options you find so you can refer to them in the future.
Evaluate the Financial Situation
It is important to understand where you and your loved one stand financially. If you will be looking to reduce your work hours, you need to see if it is financially possible. This will also let you know how much money you can spend on support services, such as a home health aide.
Prior to becoming a caregiver, it may be helpful to read books about caregiving so you know what to expect. You can gain tips on how to handle different situations. If your loved one has been diagnosed with a disease, like dementia, seek books on that specific situation. And we have a reading list for those too!
Many adult children are suddenly placed in a situation in which they have to become a caregiver for their parent. Having the opportunity to prepare in advance for this role makes the transition easier. Details can be determined in advance. The resources provided by Caring Senior Service can help. Download our eBook on the true cost of caregiving for more information to make an informed plan for caregiving for your parent. Access this resource and others in our free content library. Start by finding a Caring Senior Service near you.