6 Steps to take when you think your elderly parents require assistance at home

How can you care for the elderly?

For many of us, there will come a moment in a person’s life when we recognise that an aging parent may need support at home. As they become older they might slowly start to struggle with daily living skills, be more and more housebound leading to social isolation, or suffer a serious and sudden incident like a stroke, serious illness, or fall. Regardless of the reason, you may notice they need some help.

When their ability to provide the care they need themselves is impacted your parent may need additional support to maintain their quality of life and possibly to ensure their health and safety. This social support could be assistance from family caregivers, friends, and neighbors, support services from in-home aged care services, or more intensive care at a residential aged care service or nursing home.

At Nursed Care we understand that this can be a difficult time for you, your whole family, and your parent. In this article, we discuss helpful 6 steps that anyone can take

Step 1. Work out if your elderly parents need support

Caring for aging parents can be a big task, not to mention emotional. Before making any changes to the care of an aging parent make sure that you’re clear about their care and support requirements. Talk to them to find out what they feel they need. It may also be important to speak with other family members, particularly if they are close or already provide some form of support.

Spend some time with your parent to understand their day

We know that maintaining independence ultimately leads to better outcomes for older people, but over time this may become more and more of a challenge for older adults. Spending a day or two with them may help you pick up on tasks they need support with. Take a positive approach by focusing on all the things they can do and just noting the things they may be struggling with. Needing additional support doesn’t have to mean that they abandon their everyday routines, daily tasks or lose their independence.

Make note of your observations

Put your observations into a notebook, ideally with the date. Making notes on your observations or concerns not only identifies areas of support they may need, but it also makes things easier to understand. Share your observations with your elderly parent often, and ask them if they feel they are accurate. You may find this helpful in discussions with family members or if you end up needing to access support services, especially if you aren’t familiar with the types of aged care services available.

Give yourself some time to reflect and process

Coming to terms with the condition of an aging parent may be overwhelming. Especially if you are considering taking on a care or support role yourself. Make sure you take time to look after your own needs especially your well-being and mental health. Seeking emotional support, whether from friends and family or a professional, is vital for your self-care.

Step 2. Be clear and specific about your concerns

No one wants to lose control of things that impact them. Your parent should continue to make the decisions that impact them, especially if they are still able to live independently. We know that taking control or independence away can have long-lasting impacts.

Speak with them about your concerns.

Get your parent involved in any discussions about them or their care. In most cases, they should be able to decide on the care they need. Raising your concerns or observations with people close to you or your parent is fine, especially if you want to confirm that it’s an ongoing issue. But make sure this discussion is also had with your parent.

Provide options and support them in making a decision

Enable your parent to make the decisions by providing sensible options for them to consider and decide upon. This may start as being a little difficult, and will likely require more than one conversation, especially if they are reluctant to acknowledge they need help. If they aren’t a danger to themselves or the people around them, sudden or drastic change is unlikely to be needed.

Providing them with some solutions may also help your parent acknowledge that they need assistance. Approach them with solutions to your concerns, this will provide them with an understanding of how they can a few changes can have a positive impact. You could ask your parent’s doctor, your health professionals, or family and friends who know them well to offer suggestions.

Step 3. - Allow time to consider options with family members

It’s so important to have time to consider and plan ahead for any major changes or decisions. Give yourself, your parent, and your family time to consider how the impacts and demands of change so you can make workable and realistic choices.

Think about your situation and make a realistic plan

If regular care is needed, it must be provided consistently. Be aware of your commitments and caring responsibilities and be realistic about your available time before committing to daily or regular care.

Consider your own personal and household factors first. Make sure you think about any impact that it may have on your own health and household budget, as well as transport both in terms of travel time and availability. It is best to make a sensible assessment at the beginning so you know you can do what you committed to.

Encourage your parent to get other people’s views

It may seem cliché but having quality time and family time can make a world of difference. It can reinforce the support and love they have from family members and give them the confidence to consider the changes they need.

It provides opportunities for them to discuss their care and support needs and seek perspectives. Considering major decisions can be difficult or even frightening if you don’t have support or are feeling alone. Change is difficult, which is why so many elderly people often would rather remain unhappy in the situation they know than face the uncertainty of change.

Step 4. Understand the aged care service system

The aged care service sector continues to grow with almost 5,000 registered organisations in Australia. Knowing what service you need and who provides it can be an intimidating prospect. The final section of this article includes a summary of some of the important types of services and links to other articles on our website. This is a great starting point and introduction to the sector. 

It’s unlikely that you will be able to provide all the support that your loved one requires at all times. Even if your family has decided to take on the caregiving role you are very likely to still need support from a service provider. With so many quality care services available it makes sense to engage specific and tailored services, if you know how.

At Nursed Care we know the aged care service system

Our team is experienced and understands how the system works because they have spent years working in the sector. We can help you get to know what is available and the best way to access services. We will work with you and your family to understand your concerns and observations about your parent, provide advice on the next steps, and help put a plan together for accessing the services you need. 

We can also help you navigate through the service system to access any government funding you may be eligible for and ultimately find the services that best meet your needs.

Step 5. Access and use available funding

The Australian government provides funding and support for people as they get older. This is primarily through the Commonwealth Homecare Support Program, Home Care Packages, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Commonwealth Homecare Support Program provides home-based entry-level support services which can be one or two services to help your parents remain independent. Homecare packages are more comprehensive and combine a range of services for those who may need more regular or intensive assistance. NDIS provides funding for services for people living with a disability.

Access to this program is through an assessment by an independent assessor. At Nursed Care we can help you work out if you’re a parent is eligible for an assessment.

Read our article Aged Care Financial Planning Tips for more information.

Step 6. Monitor their support needs and keep them active

Continue to spend quality time with your loved one, it’s most likely that if their service needs change you or a family member will be the first to notice. Develop a good relationship with their service providers and make sure your parent is actively involved in their support services and communicate changes with them.

How are aged care services provided?

In-home care services

In-home care services are support services delivered to you at home as part of a package of care. This package of care is designed around maintaining your autonomy and independence and enabling you to stay in your own home for longer. We know that enabling seniors to maintain their independence leads to a better quality of life.

In-home services recognize all the things that you can do to care effectively for your own needs and home and provide specific assistance for the few things that make life difficult. This can start as a single service for a specific task, additional services can be added if your need for assistance increases. Read further about In-home care services

Full-time residential services

Residential aged care services if you are no longer able to live independently or look after your daily personal needs. Your care requirements may be complex and ongoing or health and mobility issues may be a severe limitation and you need assistance provided throughout the day, every day. Facility care is delivered through residential aged care facilities also known as aged care facilities or nursing homes.

Residential aged care facilities can offer a range of specialised accommodation options, daily meals, laundry and personal and mobility care, clinical services and care, allied health therapy, and social activities to meet your personal needs. Read further about residential aged care services.

Short-term residential services

Short-term residential care services are a range of time-limited services that are available to people living independently or with carers. They are aimed at supporting people leaving the hospital, addressing emerging issues in maintaining independence, and providing carers with respite care. Read further about short-term residential care services.

Private duty nursing care

Private duty nursing care is a general term used to refer to nurses who attend to and provide care to a patient at home. Private duty nursing has been provided in Australia to home-bound people for many years, however, we are increasingly understanding the benefits of private duty nursing for patients, carers, and the wider community.

Private duty nursing can also be called private nursing, home nursing, or home nursing. Private duty nurses are fully trained nurses who are mobile in the community and call on patients at home. Read further about private duty nursing.

Modifications at home

Home modifications help ensure that the home remains a comfortable and safe place to live. Depending on your circumstances these can be subsidised through either My Aged Care or NDIS. Regardless of who is paying Our guide to home modifications for the elderly covers a range of simple modifications that can help your loved one remain living at home safely.

Need qualified care?

At Nursed, we offer a full range of care and disability support services, assisting you to live the life you want to live. Contact us today.

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