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Assisted Living | January 12, 2016 | By Jonita Dixon

Considerations before Becoming a Caregiver for Your Parent

caregiver-and-senior-ladyAre you thinking about becoming a caregiver for your mother or father? You face some important considerations for such a hefty decision. While it can be rewarding to provide the necessary care for a parent, there are heavy demands and responsibilities as well.

If you have a parent who is getting on in years and who requires additional care due to a chronic condition or simply due to their age, you may also find you have a parent who is already afraid that you will put them into an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Many elderly individuals prefer their autonomy and want to remain as independent as possible. Yet, there can come a point when the elderly require care and one or more family members are then faced with the big question as to what is best for the elderly parent in need of care. Should the family member become a caregiver or not.

The role of caregiver comes with important responsibilities. The family member will have to take care of medical care needs in the home, advocating for the individual that they are caring for, and must coordinate with service providers. As per information released by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) over 65 million family members are currently caring for an elderly relative, and some 36 percent of those being cared for are a parent. With the retiring of baby boomers, it is anticipated that this number will increase.

Acting As A Caregiver: Are You Prepared?

To decide if you are ready to become a caregiver to another, you have to do a bit of self-assessment first. You need to assess your caregiving skills, personality, preferences, energy levels, and availability. In doing an evaluation of the self, you will have a more realistic spin on your position and readiness for caregiving. Bear in mind while you ask yourself some of the self-assessment questions, there are many caregiving activities that you might not anticipate and some responsibilities might prove surprising.

All of the responsibilities you will be juggling may even prove overwhelming. Consider this because some of the things you are responsible for include:

  • Setting up necessary transportation to and from appointments.
  • Ensuring adequate medical care is made available.
  • Handling the elderly person’s prescribed and over-the-counter medication use if the individual is unable to do so him or herself.
  • Ensure the individual has adequate clean clothing and you may have to help them with daily hygienic care.
  • Ensure the individual gets a healthy diet.
  • Socialize and entertain the parent you will be caring for to keep them social, active, and to reduce the possibility of depression.