Aging is a part of life and there is nothing we can do about that. We can, however, do everything in our power in order for our dearest ones to feel comfortable, appreciated and loved once they reach old age. As a travel nurse this can be more of a concern, since you are away from home for work. If you find yourself in this situation where you have to care for an elderly parent, it’s good to know that there are many things you can do for them. Take a look.
Make sure you understand their needs
The first thing you need to do is have an honest conversation with your parent. Ask them whether they want to stay in their home, move to a smaller place or even to a retirement village. If you see that they are struggling with everyday activities, you can suggest hiring someone to help out around the house. In case they also have health issues, you must take that into consideration before you make any decisions.
Maintain contact with them
If you agree that your parent will continue living alone, you should reach out to them on a regular basis. Being away can make this more difficult but, thanks to technology, it’s no longer hard to stay in touch. Try to teach them how to use various apps so that you can talk more often. If you’re a busy person, you can call them on your way to work or while you’re going home. Also, try to see them at least once or twice a week if possible. If it isn’t possible have a friend stop by for a visit on a weekly basis. Make sure they know you are there for them, no matter what t
hey need, and that they can always turn to you.
Encourage them to socialize
Since you are away on assignment as a travel nurse you may not have the opportunity to spend the time with them and socialize with them. If they can move on their own, they can go to bingo nights or organize a book club with their friends. Moreover, living in a retirement village is great for socializing as they can meet a lot of people their own age who might share similar interests. Elderly people who live alone are at a greater risk of depression. That is why you should encourage them to socialize.
Provide them with proper care
Of course, you want to provide your parents with the best possible care. That is why you might want to consider hiring a professional caregiver who can make sure your parent is safe and taken care of. A caregiver can put your mind at ease when you are traveling for work.
On the other hand, if you have the time, you can also opt to further your education to help you deal with the numerous aspects of caring for an elderly person, including conditions such as dementia and the strategies needed to deal with it. By gaining this additional knowledge you can ensure you will be well equipped to know how to assist your parent and give them all the support they need. Moreover, don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Even if you do decide to care for them on your own, you should be able to rely on other family members or even have a caregiver who can help out from time to time.
Ensure their home is safe
You should properly equip your parent’s home if they want to stay there alone. Introducing even small changes can help them a lot. For example, installing grab bars near the shower and toilet can make everyday life much easier. Also, add anti-scald devices to faucets to prevent serious burns. Invest in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with vibrate or strobe lights features which elders can notice more easily. Furthermore, make sure night lights are installed so that they can find their way around the home during the night. To avoid accidents, remove all clutter from floors and add non-skid mats in slippery parts of the house.
Take care of finances
Finances are often a tough topic to discuss, but it is something that has to be done. See whether they are willing to give you the power of attorney, in case they can’t control their finances anymore. Ask if they have a will, and if not, make sure they make one. Additionally, you have to talk about various monthly expenses. If they move to an aged care home, who will be paying for it? Would it be more cost-effective if they were to move to a smaller condo? Will they be paying their own bills or will you take over that responsibility? Moreover, there are resources which can help you reduce the costs of prescription drugs and save money on medical bills.
Taking care of other people, even if they are your parents, can be extremely difficult and challenging. If you feel like you are up to the task, go for it. If not, know that there are great options for your parents out there. Whatever you do, make sure you stay in touch and show them how much they mean to you.