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Tips for caring for mom and dad.

As your parents continue to get older and live longer, you may find yourself – willingly or inadvertently – taking on the role of primary family caregiver. We at Lutheran Life Villages can offer you some useful tips to help you care for your parents:

Talk with your parents frequently.

The more you stay in touch with your parents, the easier it will be to recognize any changes in their behavior or health. It’s also one of the easiest ways to get more involved in regard to their well-being.

Consult your parents’ doctors and friends.

If your parents have any medical conditions, get your mom or dad’s consent to have their doctor give you an overview. Or better yet, go with them to one of their appointments. You may find yourself visiting three or four doctors, so be sure to have the contact information for all of them. And if you can’t go to their doctor’s appointments, be sure to follow up with your parents to find the outcome.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your parents’ friends. They can provide valuable insight to your parents’ daily routine and alert you to any changes in behavior. 

Determine if it’s safe for your parents to stay in their own home.

A visit to your parents home can help you determine whether or not it’s safe for them to stay there. Be on the lookout for red flags such as overdue notices or difficulty navigating around the house. 

Be realistic about your ability to help out.

It’s only natural for you to want to do everything possible for your parents.  But it can also be unbelievably stressful. Therefore, you should always be receptive to offers of help or the idea of someone else taking a more active role in caring for them.

Determine how well mom and dad can function on their own.

Spend some time with your parents and see how they handle their day-to-day activities. It will reveal a lot about their level of independence, and whether or not additional assistance like home care services are needed.

Share the caregiver responsibilities with family members.

While the responsibility of primary caregiver usually falls on the eldest female adult child, all siblings and family members should pull together to provide the best care for their parents. If one person is the primary caregiver, then the other siblings can help by taking care of the house, handling paperwork, or managing finances.

Allow your parents to be as independent as possible.

Whether it’s handling their own finances or working around the house, giving your parents as much independence as possible goes a long way. Reassure them that they’re always in control, and you’re only there to help.

Accept your parents as they are, not who they used to be.

Good or bad, it’s easy to see our parents as they once were. But like you, they’ve changed over the years, and you should accept them for who they are today.

Enjoy your time together.

While caring for an aging parent is a big responsibility, it can also be a great bonding experience for both the parent and adult child. Plus, many adult children find it to be an incredible growth experience where they learn more about themselves.

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