As parents begin to age, it’s important for you to be there for them and to give them the care and support needed; after all, they did this for you for many years! Aging is a natural part of life and, although it can be upsetting to see, it is likely that they will need some form of help or support as they get older. It can be hard to know how to provide this care best, especially if they have been independent and in good shape most of their life. With this in mind, here are a few tips on 11 ways to care for aging parents.
Keep frequent contact
First, keep regular contact with them. Doing so lets them know that you are there for them. Exactly what this looks like will vary from family to family, depending on what works best for all involved. It might be a weekly phone call. Maybe it’s having them over for lunch or popping over for tea.
Regardless of how you keep contact, the main thing is simply that you do so. It can help prevent them from feeling isolated and alone, which can be a big problem in the elderly, especially for someone living on their own.
Care for aging parents: How to communicate
When you see or speak to them, listen carefully to what they have to say. Many people don’t want to be a burden but need support. It can be hard to reach out to someone else, especially when it’s your kids.
If you have any concerns about your aging parents, don’t shy away from speaking to them about it. This can be a positive first step to getting the care that they need. Find out what their needs and wishes are for this stage in their life and do everything in your power to arrange it for them.
Can this be a difficult conversation to have? Absolutely. But the entire family will need to discuss legal, financial and inheritance issues at some point too.
So having real conversations now can help make those later discussions a bit easier. These are delicate matters, but open communication can help make things better in the long run.
Speak with siblings
If you have siblings, you will also need to discuss with them what the plan will be going forward regarding care. It is easy for tension to the surface if you do not have a plan in place and one sibling is doing more than the other. But working together can help provide the best possible care, no matter what is the plan.
Encourage them to leave the house
People of all ages need to get out and about and lead their daily lives, but this can become challenging for older adults. That’s why part of effective care for aging parents includes encouraging them to get out as much as possible.
Hopefully, they have people to socialize with. If not, there are a few ways to combat loneliness and be sure to take them out during your visits as this can do a world of good.
Teach them how to use modern technology
Today’s technology can make it incredibly easy to stay in touch with people, no matter where they are in the world. But a lot of the older generation struggle with this new technology.
So, consider teaching them how to use it to stay in touch easier with friends and family. Plus, once they can use a computer or mobile device, then they can benefit from online shopping if they struggle to get to stores.
Care for aging parents by attending appointments with them
Unfortunately, as your parents get older they can suffer from their fair share of illnesses. There are many conditions associated with age and particular problems only affect the older generation.
You should encourage them to attend regular screenings when they are invited to detect any early onset health conditions. One particular health concern that affects older people is something called diverticular disease, which is usually harmless.
Diverticular disease treatment includes home remedies or over-the-counter pain relief. Occasionally the GP may prescribe antibiotics if there is an infection present.
If they need to see a doctor or have regular appointments, attending them with your senior folks may benefit you all. In addition to providing support, it also gives you the opportunity to speak to their healthcare professional. During these conversations, see if there is anything that you could be doing to give greater care and support.
Make their home comfortable and safe
Mobility might become a problem for your elderly loved ones. If so, you could see them struggling with chores around the house.
Thankfully there are all kinds of adaptations and gadgets available to make it easier. Stair lifts, grab rails, walk-in showers and lower beds for seniors are just a few examples to consider within the home.
Using a caregiver
If your parent is struggling with daily chores and they do not have somebody to help them, a caregiver can be an excellent solution. A carer enables them to continue living at home.
Plus, they have somebody to socialize with. It is important to note that the regular contact with a caregiver cannot replace that of a son or daughter, so make sure that you are still in regular contact.
If a caregiver is not an option and your aging parents require constant care, then a nursing home may be ideal. Choosing a nursing home be a difficult decision.
But, ultimately, you need to make sure that they get the necessary care and in some cases, this will mean moving into a nursing home. Sometimes, the move to a nursing home can provide a new lease of life as it’s a fresh start with lots of new people and new activities.
Nursing home support
While many nursing homes are excellent places, you must also do your research and be aware of nursing home abuse; you can read more about this on this website. Also, make sure that you still visit them regularly and continue to provide emotional support
Stay positive and look after yourself too
It can be very emotional watching a parent grow old, which is why it’s important to stay as positive as possible. Try to make any visit or other form of contact with aging parents a positive experience for everyone involved.
Most importantly, show your love for them. Also, make sure to look after yourself as no parent want their child to suffer emotionally or in any other way. Take care of your mental health by continuing to socialize, exercise, eat well and generally maintain a positive outlook.
Final words on how to care for aging parents
Growing old is a natural part of life and, although hard to watch, it is important that you are there for your parents when they reach this stage. It is vital that you prepare for this so that you know how to react and best formulate a plan in everyone’s best interest.
While details for how to most effectively care for aging parents depends on their unique characteristics and the circumstances, there are always steps to take to make this a manageable process. Considerations include how best to look after them yourself, hiring a caregiver, or moving them into a nursing home.