So You Want to Be Your Parent’s Caregiver?

The idea of putting parents into nursing homes or other types of health care facilities is not an option some families wish to consider. This could be for a number of reasons including their parent’s need to be close to family, or because family members worry they won’t receive the care they envision for the parents. For those interested in becoming their parent’s caregiver, there are specific steps that must be taken in order to do so.

Here are the steps that you need to take to be a care giver for your parents in your home:

There are purchases you will need to make before becoming a home health care provider for your parent. The best way to create a list of items is to have a healthcare professional come into your home and assess what your parent will need. Some are pretty expensive, some you can find deals on at the local Lowe’s or Home Depot. For example, if you have a two-story home and their bedroom is on the second floor, a chair lift for the stairs may become necessary. These are very expensive, so ask shop around, and ask how much medicare will cover. Cheaper items include grab bars in bathroom next to the toilet and in the shower, as well as a commode in the bedroom if there are issues with your parent getting in and out of bed. Again, a healthcare provider can help you create this list to ensure your home is properly outfitted with everything your parent needs.

You will need to ensure all legal matters are taken care of prior to your parent moving in. For example, you will need to become your parent’s power of attorney. Consult with an estate planning attorney first, and ask them if you should be their medical power of attorney as well. Your responsibilities as a power of attorney will be to sign documents in their place, handle their financial matters regarding banking and investments, pay their bills, and make their appointments. If you are their medical power of attorney, you are able to help them or speak for them regarding all medical decisions. This is helpful if your parent requires a lot of medication, a hospital stay, and frequent doctor’s visits.

Your parents will have specific medical and nutritional needs that must be addressed with help from their primary care physician. Obtain a list of all their medications, as well as a what their dietary requirements are. For example, some medications require patients to take it with food. Other medications, however, require patients to stay away from certain kinds of foods. Your parent may have also developed specific sensitivities to foods that you may not be aware of and they may also need to drink dietary shakes or other drinks. Having this list on hand will not only help you stock your home prior to their move in, but it will also help you remember how to set up meal planning in order to meet their needs.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and figure out what your parent’s insurance covers in terms of household needs and medical supplies. Utilize every resource possible in order to cover all your bases. Do you still need a nurse to come in to help with physical or occupational therapy? Do you need a service to help with transportation to doctor visits or therapy sessions? Is it possible to have medications delivered to your home every three months, instead of monthly refills? Can you get generic medications to save your family member money? Asking these questions, as well as others you and your family brainstorm, will help you create a stable and healthy environment for your parent when you become their caregiver.

About the author: Tiffany S. is a full-time freelance writer and author. She took care of her grandmother in her home during her end months, and developed an understanding through hands-on experience regarding the requirements to care for a family member at home.

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