Caring for an elderly parent takes time and energy. A joint survey by AARP and the United Hospital Fund asked family caregivers what tasks they do most often. Almost 2,000 family caregivers responded. Four categories of care topped the list.
Special diets make meal preparation problematic. Making sure the nutritional value is correct is just one challenge. Making sure meals meet low-fat, gluten-free, sugar-free, and low-sodium requirements is not easy if you have no training.
It’s very likely that your parents are taking medications for chronic health conditions. Someone needs to track these medications and make sure they’re taken at the right time. There are also restrictions with some medications that require an empty stomach or after a meal. Medications may have contraindications that require other supplements, foods, or beverages to be avoided while taking the prescription.
In the study, 78 percent of family caregivers said they were helping family members with things like medications. Half of them said their family member was taking five to nine prescription medications each day. Anxiety over making a mistake was high in these caregivers. Combative parents were the other common concern.
Helping a parent in and out of bed is just one of the things you’ll be doing if your parent isn’t mobile. You may have to support your mom as she gets in and out of the shower. Lifting your dad off the sofa or chair is also hard if you don’t have a lot of leg and upper body strength.
Other things you’ll be helping with include getting up and down the stairs. You’ll need to steady your parent on each step to prevent both of you from falling. If a stair lift is used, you still have to support your mom or dad as she/he gets on and off the chair and uses the safety harness.
Helping a parent who is incontinent was one of the tasks that family caregivers said were difficult. Changing an adult diaper, caring for the skin to avoid rashes or infection, and lifting a parent on and off a toilet were all challenges.
Some of the challenges family caregivers deal with is a lack of upper body strength. Changing a diaper on a baby is one thing as the baby is much smaller. When you’re trying to lift a parent who is heavier and taller than you are, muscle strain is a serious risk. You also have to be careful that you don’t drop your parent and cause injuries.
Elder care services can cover each of these categories. You don’t have to try to do them all without assistance. From housework to meals, a trained caregiver can become your parents’ companion and help them with activities of daily living. Talk to an elder care professional to find out how to arrange home care services.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Alexander City, AL, please contact the caring staff at Prime Home Health today. Caring for Our Friends and Neighbors in Tallapoosa, Chambers, Lee, Macon and Russell Counties! Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! 334.745.7966