Carefully Choosing Care For Your Parents


Being a parent yourself gives you a new appreciation for everything that your own parents went through when they were raising you. As your parents get older, you want to make sure you return the favor and care for them when they need it. It's not easy when you realize that your parents might need some help to care for themselves, but you want to get them the assistance they need. There are lots of things to consider to find a solution that works for everyone.


Communicate Well

Communication is key when it comes to choosing care options. Even though you might need to help out with considering care options, your parent or parents will often still be capable of having their own say. It's important to get the balance right between being practical and realistic and letting them make the final decision. You will often find that you need to work out a compromise that presents a solution for everyone. For example, your parent might be determined to stay in their own home. You could decide that home care is the right choice so that they can have what they want, but you feel reassured that they will get the care they need.


Understand the Different Options

To make the right choice, you need to understand what the choices are. There are lots of options for care for older people, from being a carer yourself to residential homes. Here are some that you might be considering:

●     Caring for your parent yourself - in their home or yours

●     Hiring home carers to visit

●     Assisted living communities

●     Nursing or care homes

The various options tend to be suitable for different levels of care. For example, someone who needs a bit of extra help might choose an assisted living community. However, someone who needs 24-hour care will likely need a residential nursing home. Home care is also an option in this case, but it can get expensive. You should explore what the different choices mean so you can weigh up which might be preferable.



Consider Budget

While everyone would prefer it if money didn't matter, you also need to think about your budget. The money you use to pay for care could come from a few different places. It might be your parent's money from various sources, or perhaps you want to contribute some money too. Wherever it's coming from, you need to work out what your budget is going to be. This will help you decide which care options might be possible and whether there are any that could be out of your price range. It's also useful to think about what you might do if financial circumstances were to change in the future.


Deciding Needs

Before you start looking at care options, think about your must-haves. This might relate to staff, facilities, activities or a number of other factors. Talk closely with your parent about what their wishes are if you can. They might want to make sure that there are certain things for them to do or perhaps that they will still have plenty of opportunities to maintain their independence. You might want to make a list of requirements before beginning your search.


Create a Shortlist

Once you've decided what type of care is most appropriate, you need to choose a service provider. Even if you want to care for your parent, it's a good idea to look into respite care options to ensure you get a break when you need one. You can start by doing some initial research to draw up a shortlist. You might ask for recommendations from people you know, or perhaps from voices of authority like doctors, charities or social service providers. Think about your requirements, from location to the services provided. You might want to look at services designed for people with particular health conditions, such as dementia.


Personally Check Out Services

When you have chosen a few care options that you're interested in, you need to assess them. There are some things that you can look at online or by talking to other people. You can see how official bodies have evaluated the services or what clients have said about their experiences. However, there are some things that you can only see from getting a closer look. If you're looking at assisted living homes or nursing homes, one of the best things to do is schedule a tour. You can take a look at how things work day-to-day and perhaps speak to both staff and residents. It can help to reassure you if you can see how everything is run. If you're looking at home care services, you might want to consider a trial shift for a carer.

If you visit a potential care facility or residence, you also need to know what to look for. Start by seeing if everything seems clean and tidy and whether everything is working. Speak to the staff and maybe some of the residents or their family if it's possible. Even if you can't speak to any residents, you can still watch them to see if they look happy and healthy and how the staff interacts with them.


Finding Care for Couples

Some issues can make finding the right care a little trickier. If both of your parents (or one parent and a partner) need care or want to remain living together, choosing the right care can be hard. It gives you another issue to consider when you're looking for care, but you can find options that are suitable for couples. Your first thought might be home care, which can certainly work and might work out to be more affordable with two people who need care. You can also look into retirement communities and assisted living, where you can find a suitable apartment or other homes for a couple. Some care and nursing homes are also able to offer rooms or apartments for couples, although it can be tricky if only one person requires care.

You need to consider a variety of things when trying to decide the right care option for your parents. Try not to rush into the decision if possible.