As your parents age their care needs will change. In some respects it is easier to identify what care your parents require if they have a sudden change in the level of care they require, for example a stroke stripping away their independence or a fall requiring a hip replacement.
There are lots of different levels of care and here we have a guide to the most common types.
If your parent has complex medical needs they may well be best served by living in a nursing home where round-the-clock nursing care can be provided to ensure their well-being. Whilst the environment is more homely than a hospital ward it can sometimes be quite institutional – especially if your parent requires regular checks or medication.
A care home is similar to a nursing home but offers less in the way of nursing care. Again it can feel regimented and it can be difficult to accommodate married couples together. Some allow small pets but usually pets are not permitted and some people find them isolating if they fail to make friends with the other residents.
To enable your parent to remain in their own home you could consider the suitability of Home Care Services. A carer lives-in to provide the care required. It can be a good option if one of your parents is still relatively independent as it allows them to remain living together for as long as possible.
A elderly person who is still fairly independent may develop health conditions that could worsen suddenly. If you can’t be “on call” a retirement flat or sheltered accommodation place could be the answer. Individual flats have access to a variety of support services and are checked on daily by staff members, who are also able to be summoned in an emergency.
For less complex care needs a daily visit from a carer may be the most appropriate level of care for your parent. A carer will visit, usually at the same time each day, to provide help with daily activities such as dressing and washing. It is also important to get advice on what adaptations may help your parents remain in their own home. From simple things such as kettle lifters to make brewing a cup of tea safer to more major installations such as stair lifts and bath rails there are plenty of gadgets that can make the difference and extend how long your parents keep their independence.
If your parents are still fairly fit and active but are struggling to cope with housework or gardening arranging for a cleaner or gardener may help lighten the load. If finances are tight you may well be able to organise help for them from voluntary organisations specialising in supporting the elderly in their own homes.
Other casual options include day centres and befriending services which can help combat loneliness and isolation.
Whatever type of care, whether residential or live in care jobs need doing, explore all your options before making this very important decision.