Being there to help and support your parents through their golden years is a natural progression in life, but it’s not always easy to know how to be a caregiver – especially for the first time. If your ageing parents are starting to need help to stay healthy and safe, read our guide below to help you feel more confident about their situation.
- Involve your parents in the process
Now more than ever, it’s important to truly listen to your parents and take their needs into account. Taking full control of your parents’ care could not only undermine their independence and agency but could also be incredibly damaging to the relationship shared between you.
Try to instigate an open, honest conversation with your parents while they’re still independent. If the future is handled with maturity and healthy communication, you and your parents will share mutual understanding, expectations, and boundaries.
- Explore care options
We understand that even with funding set to increase for nursing in NHS care homes, putting your parents in a home can feel cruel and might be the last resort. However, to take full responsibility for their care is an enormous commitment – so it’s a good idea to explore alternative or temporary care solutions to take the full weight from your back.
- Be realistic
Even if you wish you could be on hand to help your parents whenever they might need you, it’s so important to remember to take a break from caring. If you have no close family or siblings to share in your caring responsibilities, charities including Age UK offer specialist support and respite care so you can take some well-deserved time off.
- Expect the unexpected
It’s important and practical to tackle difficult conversations with your parents while you still can. In the unfortunate event of an accident, you’ll be able to handle processes more efficiently if you’ve already sought professional advice from a healthcare provider or solicitor. There might even be a potential need to make a no-win-no-fee claim, so it’s a sensible idea to put the right steps in place.
- Focus on their needs
It’s hugely important to know the levels of support that your parents need. Don’t make assumptions or commit more time and effort than they’ve asked you to: not only could this prove overbearing and stressful for your parents, but you’ll also be likely to suffer from burnout and feel overwhelmed.
- Accept support
Taking on any caregiving role is a commitment, and it’s important to know when to take time for yourself or to reach out. Do your research before you start caring for your parents to make sure you know where to find financial, practical, and emotional support should you need it further along the line.