Adult children at some point realize an uncomfortable truth—parents age. But they do more than simply age; aging parents may also need their adult children to help them out more than ever. The prospect of children reversing some roles with parents might seem disorienting and frustrating for everyone involved, but we promise that with understanding, communication, and planning, the whole family can move forward in a way that is safe and comfortable.
Are you an adult child who has found yourself wondering just how to care for an elderly parent? Take a deep breath, and then keep reading. We can walk you through the basics of what caring for elderly parents entails both at home and in a senior living community.: like severe memory loss, then it is likely time for your loved one to move into a dedicated memory care community. There, all of their medical care needs will be met by a dedicated staff of licensed professionals.
Determining the Right Type of Care
All older adults are unique... and so are their needs.
Part of caring for elderly parents is determining just what their needs are. A good way to determine their needs is to see what activities of daily living, or ADLs, they can complete on their own. The six basic ADLs are as follows
- Ambulating, or Moving - How well someone can move around independently.
- Feeding - If someone can feed themselves.
- Dressing - How well someone can pick out an appropriate outfit and dress themselves.
- Personal Hygiene - If someone can complete basic hygiene and personal care tasks like showering and grooming.
- Continence - How well someone can control their bowels and bladder.
- Toileting - If someone can get to and use the toilet, as well as clean themselves after using one.
If an older adult can handle all six of the above on their own, then they will likely need minimal—if any—outside help, so long as they aren't experiencing any worrying signs of memory loss or other major health issues. In these cases, the aging adult can comfortably remain at home or enjoy life at an independent living community, which is composed of only older adults.
If someone needs help with a few ADLs, it may be time for either dedicated in-home care or moving to an assisted living community. In-home care can come in many forms, such as regular cleaners or a licensed nurse making wellness checks to monitor blood pressure, administer medications, and the like. An assisted living community will also provide personal care services (and several bonus amenities) to your aging parent, but be available 24/7 instead of only sporadically.
If an aging parent cannot handle any or most ADLs and/or they are experiencing worrying signs of Alzheimer's disease
In-Home Care Maybe Mom is doing well, but she's just a little forgetful about scheduling doctor's appointments. Perhaps Dad is as sharp as ever, but he has a little trouble moving around as well as he used to. In either case, it's clear that your parent needs just a little extra help on a daily basis. In this situation, your parent can likely safely live in their own home, condo, or apartment after some minimal changes to both their living space and daily routines.
There are plenty of ways you can help care for an elderly parent who wishes to remain at home instead of making the move to a senior living community, including:
- Help Scheduling - Making and keeping track of medical appointments may be a little daunting for some older adults. If possible, you may be able to help Mom or Dad make their appointments and set up automatic reminders on their smartphones to help them keep track of their busy schedule.
- Improve Safety - Keeping the home safer for older adults doesn't have to be complicated. Removing clutter, adding handrails and no-slip mats to bathrooms, installing smoke detectors, and improving visibility throughout the home can all help keep your family members safer.
- Hire Help - Services like Visiting Angels and Meals on Wheels can help lift some of the responsibilities of eldercare off the shoulder of family caregivers.
Continuing Care Living at home is many people's first choice, but it isn't always the safest. The fact is that roughly 7 in 10 people in the United States will require long-term care services at some point in their lives. This fact means that it pays to know what type of long-term care is right for your family.
- Independent Living - A lifestyle option where older adults can live in a community of other active adults. Personal care services are typically limited to home and lawn maintenance, although they usually offer a wide range of amenities. Our independent living communities offer services and amenities like concierge services, in-house dining, housekeeping and laundry services, club rooms, salons, outdoor walkways, and greenhouses.
- Assisted Living - A lifestyle option for aging adults who need some assistance with ADLs and/or are experiencing early stage dementia. Monarch assisted living communities offer services and amenities like medication management, on-site health care services, al fresco dining, beauty salons and spas, community activity and craft centers, and gardens.
- Memory Care - A lifestyle option for people living with dementia. Our memory care communities offer services and amenities that include resident response wearable technology, fitness centers, secure outdoor walkways, cafés, libraries, and more.