If you’ve been acting as the primary caregiver for your mother, you know that there are so many things involved in taking care of an elderly parent— paying bills, grocery shopping, managing medications and much more. It can be tough to make sure that everything gets done. Fortunately, you can build a simple checklist that can help you keep track of tasks and make sure that your mother is getting the help she needs as she gets older.
Arrange for Home Maintenance and Upkeep
In order to make sure that Mom is safe at home when you can’t be there, the house itself must undergo several renovations to ensure it is as safe as possible for her. All stairs in the home should have handrails on both sides, with the bottom and top step being clearly marked. All hallways, as well as doorways, should be clear of clutter, and all rugs should be securely fastened to the floor. Other home renovations that you'll want to make include those relating to:
- Adequate lighting
- Electrical cords safe
- Furniture sturdy and stable
- Safe water temperature
- Furniture should be arranged to augment mobility
On top of these changes, you might need to look into an in-home service that can help with the daily housekeeping tasks that may be starting to slip as Mom gets older.
Organize the Medication Cabinet
When providing care for Mom, there's a high likelihood that you'll be responsible for ensuring she takes her medications exactly as prescribed by her physicians.
It would be a good idea to reorganize the medicine cabinet—or organize a separate storage space if Mom doesn’t have a cabinet just for her medications—so that all of her current pills and prescriptions are clearly visible. To ensure that medications are taken as directed, write a list of medications with dosages and instructions and hang it inside the door of the cabinet itself.
Set Up Easy Access to Important Information
Anything can happen in the blink of eye—an injury, an illness. Following such an event, you will need quick access to her emergency information. If you have an emergency sheet hanging in the pantry, you'll always know where to go or direct EMS for quick access to her personal and medical information. Make sure the sheet includes the following info:
- Insurance information
- Power of attorney information
- Medical conditions
- Medications and dosages
- Drug allergies
- Blood type
You'll also want a separate sheet that includes additional information that she or other care providers may need should something happen to you:
- Cell phone lock code
- Voicemail password
- Email information
- Financial account information; bank account numbers
Put Her Appointments in Your Calendar
As she gets older, it’s likely that Mom will have more and more appointments to attend. By putting all of them in your own calendar—the electronic calendar on your smartphone or the paper calendar on the fridge— it will become much easier to juggle all of these appointments. You might even want to see if it’s possible, when scheduling her doctor visits, to squeeze them into one or two days— this way you don't have to take off work several days each month.
Find a Good Senior Care Calculator
If Mom were to need to move into a nursing home or retirement community right now, do you know what it would cost? What about an in-home service?
If you’re not sure what these senior care services would cost—or how much she could afford to pay for them—then it would be a good idea to search out a good cost calculator that allows you to input all of Mom’s financial details and compare the cost of different care types in your area.
As your mother continues to get older, she will likely require more and more care. Fortunately, though, providing care for Mom is greatly simplified when following the list above.