Practical Tips on Caring for Children and an Aging Parent

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Seniors choose to age in place for varying reasons. Some are not comfortable with the idea of living in a care facility, while others simply want to spend their remaining days with their loved ones. However, caring for a senior and raising a family at the same time is a challenge that not everyone is ready to handle. If this is the case for you, then you’ve come to the right place.

Learn about some of the most practical tips on how to care for your children and aging parent at the same time.

1.Consider home health care

If your parent has a medical condition that requires constant care, consider hiring home health care services to alleviate some of the responsibility that rests on your shoulders. This type of service provides them a similar type of care that they would receive if they were in an inpatient care facility while also allowing them to stay in the comfort of their own home. Furthermore, having a health professional come in and address your parent’s needs can reduce your workload significantly.

Home health care services are especially advisable for seniors that no longer have much independence when it comes to meeting their basic needs, such as eating, bathing, dressing up, and drinking. If your parent requires this level of care, you should strongly consider hiring some outside help.

2. Gather the rest of the family

Not all families can take turns taking care of their aging family members. This is especially true if you are an only child and/or if the extended family lives far away or is estranged. But if you have loved ones that can pitch in from time to time, try reaching out to them for help. Even just taking your parent out for the day or helping with household chores can make a huge difference.

The same goes for the people in your household. If your children are old enough to help, delegate responsibilities that are appropriate for their age. For example, they can do chores around the house while you take care of your parent, and if possible, they can also help out with care tasks to spend time with their grandparent as well.

3. Educate your children

Young children may not understand your aging parent’s needs, especially if they are dealing with a medical condition. That said, it is incredibly important to educate your children about your parent’s needs, capacities, and health goals. For example, train your children to avoid making slip and trip hazards in the house (e.g. toys on the floor, folded rugs, shoes in the doorway, etc.) and stress the importance of why they should. Talking to your children goes a long way, so be sure to do it as soon as possible.

4. Find financial help

Caring for an aging parent at home can increase your financial needs, more so if you have children. Luckily, there are lots of ways you can reduce the financial burden on your household, such as:

  • Seeking assistance from government programs
  • Leveraging Medicaid and other health insurance coverage your parent may have
  • Reducing medication expenses by seeking additional help from Medicaid
  • Asking for help from family members and friends
  • Selling your parent’s less important assets

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5. Find shortcuts

One of the best ways to avoid getting overwhelmed by your responsibilities at home is to find as many shortcuts as you can. Think about your biggest tasks and figure out how you can make it easier. For example:

  • Prepare dinners on the weekend to save time on cooking during the week
  • Buy groceries in bulk to reduce the number of trips to the supermarket
  • Have essentials delivered instead of going out to buy them
  • Maximize each load of laundry to reduce washes
  • Employ the Clean As You Go rule in the house
  • Use the dishwasher for items other than dishes (soap covers, toys, metal fixtures, etc.)
  • Reduce clutter in the house so that you have less to clean

6. Pay attention to your well-being

Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well—both physical and mental. If you are sick or burnt out, you won’t be in the best position to take care of those that depend on you. More importantly, you have the right to enjoy life in your best state and play more roles other than being a caregiver to your family.

Taking care of an aging parent is not easy, especially if you also have children that depend on you for everyday needs. But with these strategies in place, you can keep the household running as smoothly as possible without losing yourself in the process.

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