When is the Best Time to Take Care of Your Aging Parents?

  • What are some warning signs my parents need help?

    An important sign that aging parents need help is if their daily hygiene is suffering. Are they usually unkempt, as if they just got out of bed? Do they regularly bathe?

    Check for body order and whether they’ve changed clothes. Are their nails in need of a trim? Is dental hygiene being neglected? If you can answer any of these questions affirmatively, your parents may need some help.

  • What are some signs that my parents may be at risk?

    Can they climb the stairs easily? Can they get in and out of bed and showers without slipping? Can they safely drive themselves shopping or to doctors’ appointments?

    Have they been losing weight due to loss of appetite? Do they skip meals? Are their meals healthy? If your parents don’t appear to be safe going about their daily routine, they may need assistance.

  • How can I avoid caregiver burnout?

    You can avoid burnout in a variety of ways. Avoid financial strain by seeing if your parents are eligible for medicaid, which can reimburse you for care services. It’s also important to have a support system.

    Taking turns with siblings or coordinating with your local community can ease some of the caregiving burden.

We lean on our parents for help from conception to birth, until we reach a certain age and we’re able to make decisions for ourselves. Even after we’ve established ourselves as adults, we often think of our parents as a voice of authority and look to them for guidance. It can be a tough day when we realize that our parents need our help.

How Can You Tell When your Parents Need Help?

When is the best time to consider taking full responsibility for your aging parent’s welfare? Look for these key points or warning signs that your aging parents are in need of assistance and may not be fully capable of living independently:

Self Care Deficit

  • Has the regular bathing habit of your parents changed? This can be detected by body odor and rarely changing clothes.
  • Have you noticed long nails in need of a trim?
  • Do you commonly see unkempt hair that seems like they just got out of bed?
  • Is tooth care being neglected?
  • Do you see any skin condition that needs further treatment?

Risk for Injury

  • Are they able to get out of bed and showers without slipping?
  • Can they climb up the stairs without falling?
  • Can they still drive to doctor appointments or do their own shopping safely?

Questionable Health Habits

  • Have you noticed any significant weight loss due to lack of appetite?
  • Is their choice of food healthy, what can you mostly find in their fridge?
  • Do they skip their meals?

Overall Function

  • Is forgetfulness a common issue? Do they often lose money, keys, remote control, their pair of glasses, or cap?
  • Do they always have mood swings due to sleep disturbances?
  • Are they irritable at times?

How to avoid the Adult Foster Care Provider Burnout

If you have decided to take charge by becoming an adult foster care provider for your aging parent(s), then you need to be responsible in providing the basic care and needs of your aging parents. Realize that this entails providing assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), taking care of meals, providing transportation, and funding needed treatments.

Avoid Financial Strain

To avoid the adult foster care provider burnout, make sure that your parents have medicaid eligibility to back you up with the finances. Through this, the children of the elderly parents are compensated for their care services. Since additional expenses aside from monthly bills can be burdensome, this can help ease financial strain.

Seek Additional Support

Have a support system to lean on in case you have an appointment and you must choose between your children’s PTA meeting and your parents’ doctor’s visit. Take turns if you have siblings to lessen the burden and create a schedule or calendar on each watcher’s availability. Having a supportive community to look after you and your parents can be very efficient.

Try to coordinate with your local community and be open with your need for assistance when the situation calls for it. In return, you can participate with the community activities or make yourself available in case a neighbor needs help.

If friends and family aren’t available to assist with caregiving, consider seeking professional assistance. Hiring a home care provider or enrolling your parent(s) in adult day services can make it easier to attend to work and other responsibilities, while still ensuring proper elder care.