Helping Your Parents As They Get Older

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One thing that can be hard for any child to deal with is seeing their parents get older. However, it is important to remember that it is even harder for your parents. After all, these are the people that watched you grow up and look after you. So it can be a bitter pill for them to swallow when they end up in a position whereby you now need to look after them. Therefore, it is important to give a lot of consideration to the manner in which you go about looking after your parents as they get older. You want to make sure you are there for them, however, you don’t want to make it feel like you are stripping their independence away from them. So, with that in mind, read on to discover some useful tips on how you can help your parents as they get older…

Seeking outside help

For a lot of children, who are looking after aging parents, they get to the point whereby they are no longer able to look after their parents themselves. It has become a full-time job and one that they are unable to do. There is no shame in this. It is important to make sure that your parents get the right help for them. This can mean different things for different people. Some people require aged care services, some people need to move into nursing homes, some people need a care professional to come and see them at their homes one day every week. It is all about determining what is going to be the best for your parents. And of course, this is not a decision you should simply make for them. It is a conversation that needs to be had and you need to have their input to make sure that they are happy with what you are suggesting.

Help them create a memory book

One nice thing to do when your parents are getting older is to help them create a memory book. After all, it is common for older people to experience short-term memory problems. One of the best ways to combat this is to helping your parents to reminisce. You should create a scrapbook for your parents and fill it with all of the people and other important things from their past. Therefore, it could contain photographs of family members and friends, as well as pets they have had and places they have visited. You can also write names on the photographs to. Not only is this a great way to help your parents remember things, but it is also a lovely activity that you can share together.

Downsize without being bossy

One thing that most children need to help their parents do when they get older is downsize their home. If your parents are not going to be moving into an aged care facility, then it is likely that they are going to be moving house into a smaller place. After all, a lot of couples and all the people find themselves living in a house that is way too big for them. Not only that way too big for them, but it is difficult for them to manoeuvre around. In terms of helping your parents to downsize, don’t tell them that they should or should not keep certain things unless you have their permission. You need to think about how you would feel if someone did this to you. While you might not understand the value of something from a personal perspective, it may mean a lot to your parents. Therefore, when helping your parents to downsize you do need to be sensitive to the fact that they may have belongings that they are not quite willing to let go of yet even if you don’t understand it.

Encourage your parents to be active

Isolation is a feeling that a lot of parents tend to experience when they get older. They’re number of different reasons for this. For example, it could be because they have vision or hearing loss, because they get tired easily, or because they have stopped driving. This is why it is very important to help your parents stay active both physically and socially. You should talk to your parents about their friends, as well as any senior groups they can attend, or if your parents are religious, you could enquire about church or synagogue members. You should also find out whether there are any organised activities offered by local community centres, nearby universities, museums, libraries, and parks. Physical activity is so important as we get older because it improves our strength, balance, endurance, and mood, as well as delaying cognitive decline.

Advocate for your parents

If your parent has a specific illness, it is important that you have a good understanding of what this illness means in terms of how it impact their body what sort of treatment they may need to have. You need to find out what medications are going to be taking and how often they need to take this medication. Is a good idea to go with your parents to their appointments so that you can take notes and ask questions.

Look for potential problems around the home

As mentioned earlier, a lot of parents decide to move home when they get older because their current house is too big for them. Not only is the house too big for them, but it comes with a lot of potential habits when a person is not able to move around as effectively as they once were able to. Because of this, no matter where your parents currently live, it is a good idea to walk around their home and scrutinize the surroundings thoroughly. You should be looking for any repairs that need to be made or any changes that should be made in order to make life more comfortable and safer for your parents. For example, you may decide that it would be a good idea to get a chair lift installed so that your parents can get up and down the stairs with ease. You should also look out for the likes of uneven flooring or any areas within the home that could benefit from handrails. Moreover, if there are any spaces in the house that are not lit properly, for example staircases and hallway areas, you should make sure that more light is brought to these spaces to reduce the chances of an accident happening.

Get other family members involved

Another thing you need to do when it comes to helping your aging parent is get other family members involved if you are able to. A lot of children end up taking up the responsibility on their own because they feel like they have two and they do not want to disturb other family members. However, it is important to recognise that the responsibility should not fall fully on your shoulders and that it is likely that your siblings or other family members will want to help you anyway. This is especially the case when it comes to financial aid. You should not feel like you have to cover all of the costs and all of the burden of covering any costs related to your parents care.

Call your parents regularly

One thing that a lot of parents tend to experience when they get older is loneliness. Their children are not at home anymore, and it’s likely that they do not have as many friends around as they used to. This is why it’s so important to give your parents a call regularly so that you can check in on them and have a quick chat. A lot of people underestimate just how much of a difference this will have in terms of brightening up their parents mood and making sure that they do not feel alone.

Emphasize with your parents

Last but not least, it is so important to emphasize with your parents. This is where a lot of people go wrong because they forget that, at the end of the day, as unpleasant as it is to see your parents decline, it is even more unpleasant for them. They are going to be feeling needy at times, they could have moody behaviour, or they could be continuously frustrated. This is understandable and it is important that you do not take it personally.

So, as you can see, there is a lot you can do when it comes to helping your aging parents. Hopefully, this advice has helped you.

Feature Image – Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash



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