Growing old is something we are all going to experience one day. It might not be all fun and bingo every day, but the alternative is a lot worse. When your parents are starting to get older, you’d want to make their lives as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Here’s what looking after elderly parents well over the years involves. When it comes to family caregiving, there are a lot of emotions; it’s quite different than taking care of someone who you only know as a patient.
Understanding the caregiver role
To be a carer for someone is a term today, for better or worse. There used to be a time when assisting someone, be it your elderly neighbor lady, old uncle, or aging parent, was something we did without realizing it had a name.
It sneaks up on you, as it does today. And the amount of care you need to give is only going to increase as they age.
It was no government support back then, no benefits for making the necessary sacrifices in order to look after someone who’s done a lot for you already. And, unsurprisingly, waking up to be a full-time carer takes a massive toll on one’s personal income.
Taking care of yourself too when family caregiving
Times have changed and, even though we keep providing the same care nonetheless, the demands won’t weigh as heavy on your shoulders as they did back then. The truth is that anyone can be a carer, and most of us will at one point in our lives. Connect with others like you, seek support, and get the help you need to take proper care of your loved ones.
Looking after elderly parents: Expect many changes
Most people who end up family caregiving have it happen quickly and unexpectedly. They didn’t expect it themselves, just like you never can expect a loved one to fall ill, undergo surgery, and spend amounts of time recovering. It will happen all of the sudden, and the best you can do is to be prepared to make a few changes in your life.
How you’re going to cope with all of this, depends on how much care is necessary for looking after parents. Sometimes, their cognitive abilities are still perfectly intact, but age has put a damper on their mobility.
The more changes you’re able to make in order to accommodate this, the easier you’ll make it for your parent. Consider, for example, a stairlift so that they’re able to stay independent and prolong their feeling of mastering everyday tasks.
Family caregiving means taking control of their health
It can be tough to watch as your parents are becoming slightly more confused and unable to care for themselves. The best you can do when looking after elderly parents is to ensure the following for them:
- They eat right
- Stay hydrated
- Find pain relief
- Get enough exercise
The more they’re able to move and be active, the more likely it is that their mental health will be balanced. You’re also likely to find that your confidence improves along with theirs as one of the benefits of family caregiving.
Ensure that they’re able to enjoy their hobbies still too as part of effective family caregiving. Or, find adjustments so that this is still possible.
Having a walk, reading a book, singing, and listening to music are all excellent ways of doing this. Remember to take care of yourself too, while you’re at it, and enjoy many more years together with your loved ones.
What are some other things to expect when looking after your parents as they age?