Just remember, care at home isn’t just a matter of looking after your loved one. It’s about taking good care of yourself, too. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make it all go smoothly:
You could also ask a live-in carer, who will move in to provide round-the-clock care, to help share the load. Private live-in care is our specialty and, if you decide it could benefit you, we can have the perfect carer on your doorstep in as little as one day.
First things first, you’ll want to make sure you’re clued up on care at home.
The more you learn, the more prepared you’ll be for the challenges that come your way. There are plenty of elderly support websites, including ours, where you’ll find resources on elderly care, dementia care and home care – everything from how to proof your loved one’s home to disability-friendly trips you can take together.
These sites are also a great place to connect with others and learn more about support groups in your area. There are lots of people in the same position as you, and they often gather together to share advice and lend an ear. You may even find volunteers offering help for carers – such as transportation or housekeeping – to shoulder some of the weight.
You should also look into whether you’re eligible for financial aid. As a caregiver who works more than 35 hours a week, you may be eligible for carers’ allowance (normally around £62.70 a week). If you work 20 hours a week or more, you may be in the running for National Insurance credits. There are also a number of other means-tested benefits available: you can find out more using an online benefits calculator.
When both you and your loved one find your groove, you’ll get a lot more done, a lot more quickly.
This might be as simple as agreeing on a time you start and end the day, which can make all the difference to mum and dad’s sleeping patterns. Or maybe the time you the administer their medication and serve up their meals. And if there’s a lot to get done, you want to make a list of tasks and tick them off throughout the day.
Remember, setting a routine is a team effort and requires an honest conversation. Make sure your loved one feels they have control over their own schedule, but take the opportunity to voice any concerns and suggestions you have. If you’re open with each other, you’ll be better placed to see each other’s point of view – and there’ll be less risk of disagreements further down the line.
There’s no need to take on the responsibility of home care all on your own when there are people to lend a hand.
Live-in carers move into a spare room in your parent’s home and give them one-on-one, 24-hour support. This means there’ll always be someone else around to get up in the night, or pop out to the shops, or whatever else you want them to do.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, live-in carers are also qualified to offer low- to mid-level Alzheimer’s care. They will take the lead on medication or cognitive exercises, or, if you’d rather manage that sort of thing, they will be happy just to play a supporting role. How you work together is entirely up to you.
If you choose live-in care, you and your elderly parent will have the choice of who comes to stay with them. You’ll be offered a range of highly qualified candidates and given a breakdown of their likes and hobbies, and you’ll be able to find the one who will come to feel like family.
When you spend so much time looking after someone else, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself.
But it won’t do either of you any good if you burn out, and there are easy ways to stop things from getting out of hand. Setting health goals, for example. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep (at least 7 hours, if you can) and eating a healthy and balanced diet (including taking on plenty of water). Try to give yourself a few hours throughout the week for physical activity, too. It’ll help get you in shape and out of the house.
Remember, help for carers is out there. Be sure to let your GP know you’re a carer so they can assess your health accordingly. They’ll make sure you’re getting what you need, and they’ll give you additional information about small things you can do to improve your lifestyle. They might even put you in touch with other caregivers in a similar situation to you.
“The security and patience of live-in care has meant my mother has relaxed and her general disposition has improved to no end.”
Care at home is a tough job, and you’ll need some “you” time if you’re going to stick at this for a while.
That means taking moments during the day and the week to yourself. Even if it’s just a five minute breather. It’s important you find some way to decompress in the short term, or things risk getting on top of you.
In the longer term, you’ll want to make sure you take a more sustained break from things – a holiday, or a week to focus on yourself. If you have family or close friends around, they may be able to take the reins for a little while. If you don’t, taking a break is still an option.
After all, there are plenty of care companies out there who will help in the short term. In fact, most communities offer some sort of respite care, including in-home respite, adult care centres and short-term nursing homes. A quick Google should track these down.
Paying for care is tricky. Let us talk you through it, and help you navigate the pitfalls along the way.
Care homes are a popular choice, but they’re not always the right one. Find out if they’re right for you.
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