4 Ways to Help Your Elderly Parents if You Can’t Be Their Caregiver

elderly couple holding bouquet of flowers while holding hands

by Troop Atomic Mommy

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When you’re young, you never think of your parents as getting too old to care for themselves. It’s just not what the youth thinks about. And then what feels like completely out of the blue, your parents become elderly and require a caregiver. While this is just part of life, it is still an important part that gets overlooked.

We will all go through this phase and we will all grow less independent. Knowing these simple truths, can begin preparing your mindset for the day your own parents grow older with the need of a quality caregiver. Of course, finances will play a large role in your choice of care for your parents.

Some people will take the route of caring for their elderly parents themselves. Others may hire outside facilities to watch over them. The choice is really up to you, and one might be more practical than the other.

Perhaps you’re emotionally or mentally unable to personally care for your parents. Or you may live far away, and it’s not a good idea to uproot either your life or theirs. Maybe you don’t with each other, making it a bad idea for you to see each other so often. And perhaps your parents are determined to be as independent as possible for as long as possible without any outside care. So what can you do to help them if you’re not acting as their caregiver?

#1 Find the Best Care and Living Arrangements

You might not choose to live with your parents or have them live with you, but you can help them by making sure they have the right living arrangements. Some people may be determined to stay in their own homes, fearful of moving to a new place that is unknown. In this case, it may be best to find in-home care for your parents, in order to meet their needs. While others may be willing to downsize or move somewhere like a retirement community or assisted living community. The important part is that it may be you who needs to make the final choice for where your parents live and the type of care they will receive.

#2 Help Them Manage Their Finances

Money matters can become a sticky issue as your parents get older. They might not be sure how to manage their money, especially after they’ve retired, and they can also be at risk of people taking advantage of them. You can offer to help with money management to make it easier for your parents to handle their finances. That could include helping them to budget their money or helping them to make smarter financial decisions. If you think your parents aren’t capable of managing their own finances, you might have to consider legal avenues for protecting them.

#3 Protect Them from Harm

As your parents get older, they can be more vulnerable to harm. They might be more easily confused, too trusting, or incapable of caring for themselves. Protecting them from harm can be more difficult if you’re not physically close to them. However, you can still do things to keep them safe. One of the biggest concerns that often comes up, is the possibility of elder abuse. Preventing this can be difficult if you live far away, but not impossible. You can do your due diligence in researching any facilities or caregivers. This will help you choose the right care options for them. Try to visit them as often as you can, never leaving them without your presence for too long. In the off-chance you do suspect something has happened, you can hire a nursing home abuse lawyer. They can help you address any issues concerning abuse and neglect in settings such as nursing homes.

#4 Prevent Loneliness

Loneliness can be a big problem for older people. You might feel guilty if you’re not able to be there for your parents all the time. But there are things you can do if you want to help your parents remain social and engaged with their local community.

The elderly, including elderly couples, can feel lonely if they only have each other. To combat this feeling, you can provide support by helping them find extracurricular activities such as book clubs, sports groups, history clubs, and elderly physical activity clubs. There may be group field trips that you can set up for them, possibly scheduling transport if they need it. Alternatively, someone could visit them or call them regularly for a chat. You can find charities that offer services such as these. You can also support them by staying in touch regularly. Even if you can’t visit often, you can still use phone calls or methods of keeping in touch online to help prevent your parents from getting lonely.

The Takeaway

The idea of caring for your parents in their golden ages is a hard thing to think about, but it doesn’t have to be. You can consider alternative caregiver options, or you can opt to be their caregiver yourself. The point is, there are many things you can do to support them, even from afar.

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