How to Care for Aging Parents

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aging parents
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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 how 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.

How to Communicate with Aging Parents

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 To 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. Encourage aging parents to get out as much as possible, and 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. 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.

Attend Appointments with Them

If they need to see a doctor or have regular appointments, attending them with your aging parents 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 & Safe

Mobility might become a problem for your aging parents. 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.

Nursing Home

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. Additionally, make sure that you still visit them regularly and continue to provide emotional support

Stay Positive & Look after Yourself

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.

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 will depend entirely on your aging parents 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.

14 COMMENTS

  1. I think attending appointments with them is so important. People need advocates when trying to navigate healthcare. It also helps the providers to have input from a regular caregiver such as a patient’s adult children.

    • Going along to appointments is a great way to ensure all information is heard and best care for older parents is possible. Thanks for sharing your opinion here!

  2. The law of life is inexorable and at 71 years of age I feel we are on that path. With my wife we have been married for 43 years and the recommendations exposed, I will tell you that they are the most appropriate to make parents a more bearable life. Many children should always keep them in mind. it is a primer that you must learn it.

  3. Thanks so much for the fabulous information Christy! These are things we should be thinking about, and it’s better to address them before we actually need them to make difficult conversations a little easier when the time comes. Blessings to you!

  4. At some point we may come to realize that our parents need us to assist them with many things, from making and keeping appointments, to transportation, even household and personal chores. It is important to remember when addressing their needs that they are adults, and it may be difficult for them to accept help. The best thing we can do for them is to treat them with respect, and listen to their concerns and opinions on any care we provide or arrange for them.

  5. As you know I am in the thick of being a caregiver to both of my parents and everything you have talked about is spot on. It’s hard work, it’s 24/7, there are no holidays but I feel blessed to have this opportunity to care for them in this way. Self care is important, I still feel guilty if I go out but I am so refreshed when I return it benefits both my parents and myself. Great post Christy xx

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