It is a familiar scenario that many of us will find ourselves in at some point in our lives; your parents used to look after you and now you’re the one looking after them. And just like your parents will always worry about you, you now find yourself increasingly worried for them.
Although you’ll likely take this new found responsibility on without question, it might not be as easy or straightforward as it sounds. You may have a young family to care for or perhaps a job, business, pets and of course a social life that you should still want to enjoy. It could also be possible that you have moved a considerable distance away from your Mum or Dad. In any case, providing them with enough care and support to ease your worrying may be both challenging and impractical.
But how do you know how much support your parent needs without being with them 24-hours a day? Well simply put, you probably won’t. Sometimes we can be over-worried about our loved ones when they are coping absolutely fine on their own. Conversely, our loved ones can hide the things that they are struggling to manage, or we may have seen displays of worrying behaviour first-hand. What is clear, is that if left down to guesswork, we may become all the more worried.
So how can you help to put your mind at ease? Here are our 5 tips:
Get a professional assessment
A care needs assessment can help to give you peace of mind and point out needs in an objective way to help you reach an agreement about what needs to be done. To get a care needs assessment you will need to contact your local council and speak to the adult social services department. Your loved one must agree to the assessment (unless they do not have the capacity to make or communicate that decision themselves). If you are a carer, you are entitled to have a carer’s assessment.
Get a home monitoring system
If your parent will not agree to a care needs assessment by a third party, you can monitor and assess their capabilities using a discreet home monitoring system such as TextCare. It will also help to give you peace of mind when you can’t be with them, by reporting that all is well and alerting you to any abnormalities in their behaviour or potential emergencies.
Click here to see how TextCare can help you to monitor routines.
Get key information
It’s common to not know details about your parent’s finances and other important information, particularly as they may be reluctant to share this with you. But this information may be vital for you to know, should anything happen to them. Try asking them to at least let you (or someone) know where they keep important information. Depending on your situation, it may also be advisable to discuss executing Power of Attorney.
Get extra help
You parent might be adamant that they are perfectly capable of living at home independently, which may make it difficult for you to get them the help that they need. So rather than pushing for big changes, try to find out where your parent would accept a little extra help, such as with cleaning or gardening. They can also be an extra set of eyes and ears checking how your parent is and helping to build the comfort level with getting help.
There are a number of free resources such as AGE UK, which can help to build your knowledge around caring for an elderly parent. This can make you feel more prepared should any problems arise and provide you with useful information to help your parent to live well independently.
Forums can be a great way of discussing your concerns with people who are in a similar situation, which may give you peace of mind that you are not alone and doing the best that you can.