What You Need To Know About Caring For Elderly Parents At Home

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we think it will. Sometimes this is because of an unexpected event, like a tragic accident, a lucky windfall, or a global pandemic. But sometimes it’s something that was actually going to happen all along. For many of us, getting old falls squarely in the second category. (It’s a sad day when a sore back and creaky hips mean your plans to take up dancing or join the local rugby league are shelved for good.)

Even if you’re still in the prime of your life, aging can be incredibly disruptive. If a parent is reaching a point in their old age when they’re unable to function independently, you may find yourself in the position of becoming their primary carer. Having them move in with you may also seem a more empathetic and cost-effective alternative to aged care or a nursing home.

While every family is unique, this new living situation can put strain on the closest of parent–child relationships when unexpected challenges arise. If you’ve recently started caring for your elderly parent, or are considering a move in that direction, here are some important things to consider so you aren’t caught off guard.

Preparing your living space

If your parent will be moving in with you, you’ll need to make sure your home environment is suitable. Not only will their mobility become increasingly limited over time, they’re also more prone to sustain serious injuries from accidents around the house. This means you should get rid of all tripping hazards and modify or remove potential hazards like sharp corners, glass surfaces, and hard-to-reach areas. If you have stairs, you should consider installing a railing or stair lift; while non-slip mats and handlebars are essential for most bathroom environments. 

The financial implications

Few things expose the reality of caring for elderly parents than changes in your financial situation. Not only will you have an additional person under your roof – meaning food, electricity, and other expenses – you may also need to budget for additional medical expenses. What’s more, you may have less time to devote to your own profession, as you adjust your schedule to accommodate the time needed to care for your parent. If you have siblings and you’re the one who’s taken on the responsibility of care, consider creating a dedicated bank account for costs related to caring for your parent, which everyone can then contribute towards. This can reduce financial strain, ease stress and neutralise any growing resentment.

The emotional strain

When your aging loved one first moves in with you, they will likely feel that they’re giving up a significant portion of their lifestyle and independence. This can lead to resistance, stubbornness, irritability and cases of them lashing out at you for simply being there. It’s a difficult situation as it is; but when hostility is thrown into the mix, it can be especially traumatic for all parties involved. This emotional strain will only be amplified as your parent’s physical and mental health starts to deteriorate.

Regents Garden is here for you and your family

These are only a few key considerations that every adult child should have in mind when caring for their elderly parent. For a more detailed look at what’s involved in providing the best possible care, check out our free ebook, The Essential Guide To Caring For An Elderly Parent. To download your free copy, click here.

At Regents Garden, we strive to bring happiness to our residents, staff and community by making quality of life a top priority. To learn about our compassionate approach to aged care in Perth, click here, or to get in touch with a Regents Garden advisor, click here.