You’re providing some of the care your parents need. To save time, you’ve created a one-size-fits-all plan to hopefully cover most of what they need. A single approach rarely works well. One party ends up missing out on some of the home care they require. Here’s what you need to do.
Look at the Strengths and Weaknesses of Both Parties.
Activities of daily living are the things that you must do each day for your mental and physical well being. The common activities are to prepare and eat meals and snacks, drink enough water, take medications, bathe, and groom. Your parents need to be able to make healthy food choices, take a shower and get dressed appropriately for the weather, and take care of their teeth. If they can’t do these items, they need a caregiver’s help.
Stop and look at your parents as individuals. Your dad remembers to take his medications, but your mom forgets. Your dad cannot cook a meal, but your mom can if items are chopped for her. Your dad has fallen in the shower and broke his leg, but your mom’s balance and mobility are fine.
Your parents will have different care needs due to their differing strengths and weaknesses. You can’t ignore that. While your mom’s mobility may be fine and you don’t think she needs you around for showers, she might have arthritis and need help with buttoning her shirts or pants. Don’t ignore these little things.
Customize a Plan that Overlaps and Also Covers Individual Care Needs.
Take your mom and dad’s weaknesses and look for things that overlap. Neither of them can drive, so they need rides to appointments and stores. Your mom’s body strength has diminished, and your dad is unsteady when walking up and down the stairs, so laundry is a hassle. Put any home care tasks they both need on the daily schedule.
Now, look at the things that one parent can do while the other cannot. Your dad cannot shave by himself, but your mom can. Your mom cannot remember to take medications. If they need help with certain daily activities of living, you’ll need to add them to the schedule with a notation that only one parent needs help with that activity.
Providing care to your parents is admirable, but it can take some adjustment. They may not like the idea of you taking over and helping. You may find it hard to see their abilities diminishing. Make sure you’re getting the help you need, too. Respite care is a good way to have a professional’s help while you run errands or go out with friends.
Caregivers can help your parents with daily activities of living. They can work with your care plan or help you come up with a better daily calendar.