Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Caring for elderly parents

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How a 24/7 carer can cover caring for elderly parents who wish to live at home, but need some level of support to do so.

Every stage of life brings different joys and challenges, from childhood with its growing pains and then teenage uncertainty, through love and marriage, raising children, and working hard to provide for them. The next era is yours to enjoy too, a chance for you to relax in the home you have created and poured so much love and joy into; the place where every picture and ornament has tales to tell and every inch is familiar and comfortable. It’s your time to make the most of every day, to experience new things along with meeting old friends.

Changing needs

Of course, life isn’t always so straightforward. You may not get around as easily as you once did, or manage everyday tasks with the speed and ease you could in the past. Perhaps you have some health issues which need attention. Many children want to step in at this point, as caring for their parents is something they feel is their role, but what can you do if that is something you don’t want to see happen?

Elderly parents

Options to consider

Children caring for elderly parents could be, in some cases at least, a full-time job and it isn’t always practical. Where would they live? How would they work or take care of their own family? Anyhow, regardless as to anything else, holding on to your independence is a wonderful thing. A reasonable compromise rather than having family step in to fill a caring role is to have a full-time professional carer at home instead.

The advantages of professional home care

Knowing that someone is around 24/7 can be a huge relief to both yourself and your loved ones. Plus of course the carer is fully trained, so they know how to do the daily tasks with which you need help properly, safely and efficiently. It’s not all about personal care and help with bathing, and dressing, should you need that. Full-time carers can also help with tasks such as dispensing medication, making meals, housework and the other minutiae of daily life. Crucially, they also provide a regular source of companionship, someone to chat to, play a card game with or to join you at a social event. Chores such as shopping can become fun again and, in fact, pretty much every aspect of the day will feel easier, safer and more fun than it would be otherwise.

Elderly parents

Caring for elderly parents with extra needs

It’s not unusual for one parent to be living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, and the other to be providing informal care. If this is you, then a carer in your home could make a world of difference. You would have much more quality time with your spouse if a professional and hard working carer was around to take over, or at least help with the daily tasks that running a home involves.

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