Caring for Elderly Parents When You’re An Only Child

Caring for elderly parents can be a difficult task for many adults as they are busy with their jobs and/or raising children, but it can be even more difficult if you are an only child trying to care for your elderly parents. We at Carefect Home Care Services understand these difficulties and would like to share some tips that can help make the process easier.

Taking Care of Finances

The first thing to do when it comes to taking care of elderly parents is to take care of their finances early on. Many family caregivers make the mistake of not taking care of their parent’s finances and belongings while their parents are healthy, and then it becomes very difficult down the line when something happens. If your parents are ill in any way, you should make sure that all of their financial issues are taken care of and that you have access to their accounts and any safe deposit boxes that they might have. This is also a good tip in case they end up hospitalized and you cannot afford their treatment on your own. The financial burden of taking care of elderly parents as an only child can often be the most difficult thing to deal with because you do not have any siblings to help split the costs with you. If you need to take over paying your parent’s bills, be sure to keep detailed records so that they will know that everything is taken care of. If your parents suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, you might want to consider getting power of attorney before their illness progresses too far so that you can be responsible for decision making when they are not capable of making decisions on their own anymore.

Getting More Help

If you are married and your spouse has a good relationship with your parents, they can often be a huge help in sharing the tasks with you. If you are single or your spouse is not interested in helping out, you can consider hiring a private home care company to send a professional caregiver to come in occasionally and help out. Having a spouse or a private caregiver to help you can make a huge difference when it comes to taking care of your parents because it will keep you from getting burned out so that you will not start to resent your parent.

Many seniors often feel uncomfortable having their children help them with personal hygiene tasks such as bathing or using the bathroom, if your parents needs help in this area you might want to consider hiring private care for them even if you think you can handle it on your own because your primary concern should be to make sure your parents are comfortable. We at Carefect Home Care Services provide the best possible care for our clients, and offer a variety of personal care assistance options that include bathing and bathroom assistance. Having a professional caregiver visit your parents occasionally will allow them to stay in their own home or your home (if they live with you) longer and not have to go to a nursing home. If they require constant medical attention you might still eventually need to place them in a nursing home, but most seniors want to stay out of a nursing home for as long as they can.

Join a Support Group

If you start to feel overwhelmed, you can look into joining a support group. Joining a support group with other caretakers will allow you to have some time to talk with other people who are experiencing some of the same things that you are experiencing so that you can share concerns and ideas. Sometimes it is also helpful to just be able to get out of the house for a while and vent to someone so that you do not keep everything bottled up inside and lash out. Support groups can often be better than just talking to your spouse all the time about your parents because you do not want to put a strain on your marriage by only sharing negative feelings or always seeming angry.

Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself

As an only child, it is important to make sure that you also take care of yourself. Not having any siblings to help out means that you will be the only one for your parents to rely on so you have to make sure that you are taking care of yourself while you are taking care of them. This can include eating healthy, exercising, and taking time to do things for yourself that you enjoy. Not taking time to do these things can cause you to feel drained and tired all the time and then you will have an even harder time taking care of your parents. If taking care of your parents at home becomes too much of a strain on you or your health, hire private care to assist your parents or consider placing them in a nursing home. Many children feel guilty putting their elderly parents in a nursing home, but if your parents need more care than you can provide or pay for, this is often the best option for both of you.

Following these tips should make caring for elderly parents a lot easier and should help keep you from getting overwhelmed with the task.

Other Related Articles:

Caring For Complaining or Bossy Family Member

The Challenges of a Multigenerational Household

Caregiving and Sibling Relationships (part 1 of 3) – Single Caregiver

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