Read our tips on how to approach the subject of care for your parent, and how to ensure that you find the kind of care that works best for their needs.
Finding care for our parents is something most people don’t look forward to. However, it’s very important and the sooner that it can be sorted out, the more likely it is to be the kind of care that enables your parent to have the kind of later life both of you expect.
It can be difficult to know exactly when to start looking for care for your parent. Too soon and they may feel offended you have mentioned it, too late and important decisions might need to be rushed. Some common signs that suggest your parents might require some help are:
- They admit to not being able to fully care for themselves or their home
- They, or their home, don’t seem as well looked after as they used to
- Appointments and meetings they are meant to attend are regularly missed
- They seem down, and less enthusiastic about things they loved before
- They have been diagnosed with a health issue that dramatically changes their health needs
- They seem to be struggling with loneliness, to the point that their health is suffering
You know your parents and understand their needs, and if it feels that they are in need of some support, then it probably is the right time to start looking into it.
Which Type Of Care Is Best For Your Parent?
It is difficult to know which type of care is going to be right for your parent. Ideally, the first step is a conversation with them to find out what they think they would find preferable. However, they might not know what is available and they may not be coherent enough to discuss options with you because of medical conditions. Or they may think a care home is their only choice and, as many older people do, react against the thought of being “institutionalised”.
For these reasons, doing some research yourself first is a really good idea.
The main options to have your parent professionally looked after are care homes, sheltered accommodation, visiting care and live-in care. With a care home your parent would live in a residence with other elderly people, receiving help with basic tasks, such as getting dressed and eating. Nursing homes are similar but with additional nursing care. Sheltered accommodation would enable your parents to maintain independence in a specially designed property, with help on hand if they want it. If your parent wants to remain at home both visiting care and live-in care enable them to do so.
Visiting carers can come and provide care at set times every day, or for more full-time care, a carer can live in the home and provide full-time elderly care.
All of these options have a wide range of benefits but also disadvantages to consider in regards to their costs, location, how likely your parent is to like the type of care, and how available the care is in the local area.
Before you make any decisions about your parents care plan consider getting a care assessment done by the local authority. It is free and will let you know exactly how much care they will need to be as happy and healthy as possible.
You should also try and do as much research as possible, visiting residential care homes, sheltered accommodation and speaking to live-in care agencies. You can find a list of providers who cover your area on our “Find A Provider” page.
You may also want to read our independent Guide to Care Funding or speak to an Independent Financial Advisor with experience in senior care planning.
The more you know, the more likely you are able to make the best decision about care for your parent. There are some great care options out there, and there will be a care type that enables your parent to be happy and healthy whilst you have peace of mind that they are safe and well looked after.