Caring for elderly parents can be a challenging task, especially when you live far away or have other responsibilities. They may need a hand using the shower, going to doctor's appointments, or just want someone regular to talk to.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can help your elderly parents maintain their independence without moving them into a nursing home. These range from hiring an aged care worker to using technology to stay in touch.
In this article, we'll explore some of the best ways to get help for your elderly parents when you can't be there in person. Whether you're looking for home care services, social groups for seniors, or just some helpful advice, we've got you covered!
Reach out to local organisations that offer in-home care
You'll find that there are several organisations in Australia that offer in-home care. This is a fantastic option if your elderly parents feel strongly about continuing to live independently in their own home.
There are several types of in-home care you can access depending on your parents needs and funding. For example, if your parents require help with personal daily tasks such as showering, getting dressed or toileting, look into aged care providers that specialise in personal care. If helping your parents run errands or get to appointments is a higher priority, social support may be more appropriate (more on that later).
You may choose to have a visiting carer, who visits when support is required. Alternatively, you may look into a live-in carer if your parents have more complex needs.
The best way to determine what type of in-home care your parents require is to have a discussion about their needs and preferences.
Hire an aged care support worker to provide companionship and social support
As your parents age, they may experience social isolation and loneliness as it gets harder for them to engage with their community. This is particularly common when their family members and friends (like yourself) live far away or work full-time. This is where social support may come in handy.
Social support is about helping people to build relationships, maintain independence and have a bit of fun. It can encompass a range of activities, from helping someone with the weekly grocery shop, to teaching them how to use a computer, to doing yoga together.
You can access social support via support providers like Like Family. Our Social Carers (aged care workers) specialise in providing companionship to people of all ages and abilities. Many of them have experience providing respite care to their own family members, and are motivated to help others live independently regardless of age.
Hiring an aged care worker is also a great option if your elderly parents are hesitant to access services like in-home carers. It can feel more like hanging out with a friend than being monitored by a nurse.
Contact local churches and other religious organisations
Many local churches and other religious organisations have services specially catered for seniors. These may include luncheons for socialising, fundraising & community events, or religion-based activities such as Bible study groups or weekly sermons.
Visit your local church or religious organisation's website or pop by their church in person to see what services they offer. You often don't need to be religious to participate!
Enlist the help of friends and family members
Do you have friends or family members who live near your elderly parents? See if they're available to give you a helping hand!
Perhaps they can help grab the essentials during their next grocery shop, mow the lawn on the weekends, or just pop by for the occasional coffee and chat. You'd be surprised at how many people in your local community are willing to come together to help each other.
Friends and family can be the perfect candidate for providing social care. In fact, that's how Like Family was started!
Enrol them in a local senior activity or social program
Do your elderly parents enjoy going for long walks? Or playing bridge?
Use websites like Meetup or contact your local council to find senior social groups or events that they can attend. You'll be surprised how many options are out there!
Social groups are a fantastic way for your parents to meet like-minded people and participate in their community — you're never too old to make new friends, after all!
Use online tools to stay in touch
Thanks in part to COVID-19, more and more seniors are starting to use sites like Facebook or Zoom to stay in touch with friends and family. Consider purchasing a smartphone or tablet for your parents and teaching them how to make a video or phone call. This will help you stay connected and provide support when you can't physically be there.
Tip: see if your local community centre or TAFE offers "tech savvy senior" classes if your parents may need a hand to build up their computer literacy skills.
Find an aged care support worker with Like Family
If you're thinking about hiring an aged care worker for your elderly parents, we can help!
We have a network of over 3,000 active Social Carers across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. They can help with a range of social and community care activities, like transportation, meal preparation, household tasks, arts & craft, and much more.
Our hourly rates are well below Aged Care pricing, and you can use your home care package with us or pay independently.
Join our community today!