Caring for elderly parents can be difficult and stressful, especially if you and your parents are separated and you can not supervise their care full time. Most people want to retain their independence for as long as possible, and it can be heart breaking for your parents to admit to you that they are no longer able to care for themselves. Fortunately, in the United Kingdom there are a number of resources available to help you ensure that your elderly parents are safe and comfortable.
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Make friends with your elderly parents' neighbours, if your parents are healthy and capable of living in their own home. Your parents' neighbours can be invaluable allies in your efforts to make your parents safe and comfortable. Because they are nearby and able to interact with your parents on a daily basis, they can keep an eye out and notify you or the police immediately if something seems wrong. Neighbours may also be willing to lend a hand with chores your parents may no longer feel up to, such as mowing the lawn or moving furniture. Exchange phone numbers with the neighbours and make sure to let them know that you appreciate their extra care.
Buy your parents mobile phones, and make sure that they know how to use them. With cell phones, your parents can contact you or an ambulance instantly if they encounter any type of emergency. If you can convince your parents to keep their phones handy at all times, they are less likely to find themselves in any type of situation in which they are hurt, lost or stranded and unable to reach help. Make sure to put your phone number and the phone number of any other important contacts in their phones' address books, and teach your parents how to use them confidently.
Check the website of the UK government to see if your parents are eligible for any type of state assistance for things like grocery shopping, transportation, or household tasks. Depending upon where they live and how old they are, the UK may be willing to pay for someone to help them with these tasks.
Website of the Government of the UK
Encourage your parents to join a class at a local community centre or seniors' group. Although your parents may want to retain their independence, they may feel lonely and isolated in their own home. This is especially the case if you and your other family members live far away, or if you only have one elderly parent who lives alone. You should strongly encourage your parents to join a class or get involved with their community by volunteering.
Make sure that your elderly parents are attending regular check ups with their physicians to ensure that they are still healthy and capable of living on their own. Your parents' doctors can probably help them to decide whether living in their own home is really a viable option.
Determine whether your parents need a care home or a nursing home. If your parents only need a little bit of help because their mobility is restricted, they need a care home. If your parents need professional medical care, they require a nursing home.
Contact your parents' local Social Services office and schedule an assessment for your parents. Under UK law, your parents are entitled to a full assessment of their needs and a written care plan, free of cost, from Social Services. This assessment will allow your parents to receive financial aid for the cost of their care, whether they choose one run by their local council or they choose a private one.
Help your parents to choose a home to move into. It may be a good idea to start shopping around for a home before your parents actually have to move into one so that they can look at several of them and choose their favourite. Visit each of the homes your parents are considering with them. This is obviously a very important decision. When you visit the homes, check to see it they are bright and clean. Ask whether the homes accept couples, and how much freedom and privacy the residents are afforded. Check to make sure that the staff is fully qualified, and ask whether your parents will be able to choose which doctors they see. Ask if your parents can speak with other residents about their experiences at the home, and make sure to choose a home that has regular activities. After you have visited a few homes, make a list of what qualities are most important to your parents to help them choose. Check with the Care Quality Commission and read their free reports on the homes you visit.
Care Quality Commission
Contact your parents on a weekly basis once they have moved into their home. It is important that your parents do not feel that you have forgotten them. Visit them in their home regularly, so that you can find out for certain whether your parents are safe and happy there.
Tips and warnings
- Encourage your parents to get involved in activities and make friends, whether they live at home or in an assisted care facility.
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