Looking after your ageing parents: what are the best options

As your parent get older their needs for care may change. Decisions surround this can be difficult. We explore some options for you

Unfortunately the time may come when you have to make decisions regarding your elderly parents care and whether it will be in their home, your home or a nursing home it is not an easy choice.
There are quite a few things for you to think about and we here at Family Friendly HQ have listed some of the issues before you make up your mind.
Sit down with any siblings or family members and have a meeting on what is best for your parent/parents going forward. As a group you need to think carefully about your options. There are four main options…
  • Move into your parent’s home to care for them.
  • Invite your parents to move into your own home.
  • Nursing home care
  • Home help for your parents. 
If your parents want to stay at home is it possible to do a roster between family members? Or will it be left to one person to take full control and in that case can they afford to give up their job and ultimately move out of their own home to stay with your parents? Are there other people who will support the main caregiver and make plans for the future as things will inevitably get worse and it could be a long road ahead? 
Consider caring for your parents in your own home and discuss this with them taking their own views into account, as they may prefer to stay in their own home which may be a viable option for them but could be impossible for yourself. There is of course a care giving benefit and you should definitely visit your local citizen’s advice bureau for any information and advice. If your parents come to live with you in their home you may need to make some changes whether major or small each one is imperative to the health of your parents. For instance do you have the room? Do you have a downstairs toilet and is the house accessible for older people who may have reduced or no mobility? Changing your home is a big step and shouldn’t be taken lightly and in essence your whole life will change if your parents are dependent on you and this can minimise your lifestyle in regards to holidays, weekends away and if you have any children in the home are they understanding?
Support is key to care giving and it can’t be taken on lightly and consider help from outside the home whether it be professional home help or from a family member who doesn’t mind helping when they can. Caregiving is also very fulfilling and having grandparents in your home is a fantastic opportunity to give back to your parents. It also allows your children to experience a closer bond with your parents.
Another option is a nursing home if there are no family to take on full responsibility. Take your time in choosing one (if you have a choice) and ensure your parents are content to move into one. However you can visit regularly and spend time without your parents stopping short of taking on full control. 
None of these are easy decisions to make and nothing is ever simple and you need to be fully prepared for what is ahead. Look after yourself too and remember that you are only one person and everyone needs to be on board to help and hopefully with support you can find a solution that works for all of you.  
Written by Emma, Irish mummy blogger and staff writer at www.familyfriendlyhq.ie
Check out her own blog at emmasmadjotters.com

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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