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Returning the favour: Why home care could be the ideal choice for your aging parents

When it comes to parenting, there is no ‘right’ way. When we become parents ourselves, we start to realise just how difficult it can be to raise a family. Children don’t come with a manual, and for the most part we’re just trying to do our best. This discovery can help us see our own parents in a very different light.

No matter how we got along at the time, the majority of us will realise that our parents were always there for us. From changing nappies and midnight feeds, to playing taxi and weeping at our graduation, most of us are blessed to have parents who really went the extra mile for us. But now we’re all grown up, and the balance is starting to shift.

As our parents age, we start to see that they need a little more help than maybe they did before. Whether they’re struggling with mobility issues, dealing with declining sensory perception or living with an illness which affects their independence, as our parents age, they start to need us more. And as a loving daughter or son, it’s our duty to return the favour.

How can you help your aging parents?

An estimated 4 million older people in the UK have a limiting longstanding illness, and of those over 85, around 65 per cent are living with a disability or illness. Whether your parent is already limited by an illness or are simply struggling to perform daily tasks, looking into your options for care at an early stage can help both of you cope with this next stage of life.

One of the first things to decide upon is whether your parent will continue to live at their own home, and therefore receive home care, or if the time has come to think about moving out. This decision will depend on a number of factors, such as their personal needs, the type of house the currently live in, and whether you or they have the funds to move house or pay for specialist accommodation.

What if their current home is not suitable?

If you and they do decide that their home is no longer suitable, there are several options to consider:

  • Care homes: Residential homes where they live with other elderly people, usually sharing common living space and having caregivers in attendance 24/7.
  • Sheltered housing: Your parent will still maintain their independence and their own private space, but will have a warden on call and regular visits from caregivers.
  • Retirement villages: A relatively new concept in the UK, these communities often have excellent social and leisure facilities and allow residents to be independent.
  • Downsizing: Moving out of the old family home and into a smaller property can free up capital and give a better quality of life to your parents.
  • Moving in with you: If you have a spare room, you could consider asking your parents to move in with you.

Moving out of their home might seem like a logical choice to you, but make sure you talk it through thoroughly with your parent. Leaving their beloved home can be terribly upsetting, and has been known to cause depression in around 40 per cent of elderly home movers. If you do decide moving out is the right choice, your parent will need your support in more ways than simply packing boxes.

Making home care / care in the home work for your parents

If you decide it will be better for their emotional and mental health to stay put, you should investigate the things you can do to make it work. Think about:

  • Helping your parents yourself: Most adult children want to be there for their parent, but be realistic about what you can fit in around your current lifestyle and commitments.
  • Making use of local services: See what your local NHS can help with, and what services are available through them, as well as contacting your Local Authority to see what funding or support they can offer.
  • Hiring a professional caregiver: Finding a trusted, qualified and affordable caregiver for your parents can take a huge weight off your shoulders.
  • Improving safety in the home: If they are struggling with stairs, investigate a stair lift. Find out about grab handles, walking frames and other aids and adaptations that will make their everyday lives more manageable.

It is only natural that older people will want to stay in their own home and retain their independence. For many, they have spent a lifetime working hard and building the memories that live in that house, and to give it all up at the end of their lives can be heart-breaking. With the right advice and support, you could make it possible for your parents to stay in the family home for longer.

An alternative option – Caring, the HomeHeart way

As much as you’ll want to do everything yourself, for most adults, this is just not possible. With jobs to go to, errands to run and quite possibly children and grandchildren of our own to care for, being realistic about the amount of time and care we can give our relatives is crucial. Hiring in a professional home caregiver can make everything a little bit easier, and can ensure your parents are getting the level of home care they really need.

HomeHeart, an innovative home care company, don’t just want to find a caregiver to take the weight off your shoulders. The want to help you find a new friend for your parent; someone they can trust and who, in time, will become part of the family. There approach is to personality match and will ensure they find someone who shares common interests with your parents, and who can provide stimulation and companionship as well as the practical support they need.

Their database of professional carers makes it easy for you to see at a glance who their care givers are. Check out this profile of Karan, who has been a caregiver for over 25 years. In just a click you can see all her qualifications, competencies and can even read references.

Find out what makes us different today, and return the favour to your parents with an exceptional caregiver!

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If you have some thoughts or comments regarding this blog, please do comment on the thread created on our UK Care Guide Forum.

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