Deciding that you might need a carer for your parent is a big step. Find out about how to face the difficulties and how to wade through the options.

I need a carer for my parent

It might be that you’re caring for your parent yourself, and need live in care giver. It might be that you’re unable to care for your parent, but know that they need it. Providing care for an ageing parent can be tough, but help is available. By getting assistance early you may manage to help your loved one to stay in their own home for longer.

Facing resentment

It can be very difficult to raise the subject of care, especially if it’s for the first time. Your parent may fiercely value their independence or worry about being a burden. However, there are all types of help available.

It’s good to talk about care as a positive step, making their life easier, maintaining independence, preventing and protecting against injury and allowing them and the family to enjoy more quality time at home.

Taking the first step

It’s a good idea to evaluate exactly what sort of help is right for your parent. Think about times when you have struggled and tasks that have caused problems. Identify when support is required and how much the family can afford, to get the very most out of the assistance available.

Consider whether you need regular live in care giver in the home, or whether time in a day centre or a period of residential respite help would be beneficial.

In-home care

Caregivers can be hired to come into your parents home and help with anything from cleaning and shopping, to washing and self-care or overnight supervision.

The live in care giver support can range from just a few hours to live-in helpers, depending on your requirements and your budget.

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Sometimes having someone to come into the house to deal with the practical household chores can leave family and friends free to enjoy time with their loved one.

Home-care could be a great option as your parent would stay in a familiar environment and keep regular routines, see friends and maintain hobbies and interests.

Day programs

Private or local authority centres are available for adult day care, with some specialising in people with Alzheimer’s. These offer activities, support and socialisation.

They tend to operate on weekdays and can be stimulating and fun. It can provide you with the time to work, do household chores or get some much-needed rest knowing that your parent is safe.

It may take a little while to adjust to attending the day centre, they can seem unfamiliar and intimidating. You may find it useful to support and encourage them to go initially and accompanying them on the first few visits may help your parent adapt.

Respite care

Everyone needs a break. Respite care can offer a block of time where your parent would be looked after in a residential facility, or taken care of in their own home.

This can be particularly helpful if your parent has dementia or is recovering from an illness or operation. It would allow you to rest, go on holiday or simply catch up on work or relationships undisturbed.

The time apart can be good for your wellbeing and for your relationship with your parent. After a rest you could return refreshed and reinvigorated.

How to access care

In-home carers can be employed through either management or introductory agencies:

  • Management agencies: the company employs and trains its carers and oversees all aspects of care. It takes all the hassle away and can suit families with lots of other commitments, however can be more expensive.
  • Introductory care agencies: agencies like Hometouch don’t employ carers, they are self-employed workers and are paid directly by you. This is can provide greater choice, control and continuity of care and is often less expensive.
  • Day centres: Contact social services for a care assessment to see whether your parent can go to a local authority day care service. Alternatively there are a number of private care homes that provide day options.
  • Respite care: Social services may also offer respite care after an assessment, or you can find a local private residential facility that offers short breaks.
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You can also find a live in care giver from recommendations by friends and colleagues.

By acting quickly to get the support your parent and your family needs you can ensure they stay safe and supported in their own home for as long as possible.

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Find out more:

Dr Jane Gilbert

Jane has over 20 years’ experience as a health writer and TV presenter. Jane writes on a wide variety of clinical and care topics – from explaining the latest studies and research to unpacking conditions and discussing treatment options. Jane holds a MBBS degree from Imperial College, London and spent seven years working in the NHS.

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