If you have talked with your parent about becoming her primary caregiver as she strives to live independently in her home, it’s important from the start to realize this is not a task you want to do all on your own. While it may not look overwhelming at the start, caring for your aging parent, along with managing all your other responsibilities might get to be quite all-consuming, causing you stress and anxiety as well as affecting the care you provide not only your parent but other important people in your life.
Think of yourself as the coach and that you need to form a team that you’ll lead and guide in the caregiving of your parent. A good team has people with defined roles to help assist in the needs that they are best qualified for. Feel free to gather input from your parent as well as you form this team of caregivers, committed to giving your parent the highest quality of life she can have for this life stage.
Which family members will have which roles in caring for your aging parent? Some may live nearby and some may live across the country or world. Take that into consideration as you discuss with your parent and family members who will help with what. If you have siblings, all of you don’t need to have the exact same responsibility or say into your parent’s care. When possible, use the strengths and gifts each family member can bring to the team.
Senior Care Professionals
If there are areas that you or your family will not be able to assist with, investigate hiring a home care provider to help with household tasks, meals, and even socialization. These caring individuals can fill the gaps that you don’t have the time, energy, or skill level to fill, and they will make it easier for your parent to keep living independently.
As a caregiver, it’s important for you to have all your parent’s medical information so you can make informed decisions. Depending on any health conditions your parent may have, this can involve her general physician, along with specialists, therapists, and his pharmacist. Find a place to keep your parent’s medical records as well as contact information so that if an emergency happens, you’ll have the information you need right on hand.
On your team, you’ll want to have people like a financial planner to help you plan out your parent’s long-term finance goals, as well as your parent’s bank information. An elder law attorney might be helpful on your team as they assist you with estate planning and long-term care planning as well as helping your parent and you create his will, guardianship, and power of attorney.
While not necessarily key people on your team, have a list of names of people in the community who can step in and help with an unexpected event such as your parent needing meals if she’s recovering from surgery or if she simply needs some visits or phone calls to keep her from being lonely. Many people will not take these care steps on their own but if you ask them to step in and assist your parent in this way, they will be happy to assist in some caregiving tasks.