As your parents get older, they will likely need extra support. This may involve helping them with daily activities or providing extra companionship. Knowing how best to support an elderly parent can be difficult, although there are also many important positive aspects of caregiving. Ideally, you will offer the assistance they need without taking away their freedom and independence. Here are four ways to encourage and be there for an elderly parent.
Offer to help with daily tasks
Most people reach an age when it becomes difficult to do simple activities. It might be hard to get dressed or do household chores. You might notice that your elderly parent is finding it difficult to make healthy meals, for example. Or, they might leave the house less often than before.
In this situation, offer to assist your elderly parent with their daily routine. For example, you could visit once a week to do chores or offer to get their groceries for them.
Or, you could hire your elderly parent a professional cleaner so that they don’t have to worry about doing household chores like laundry. Having this assistance will help your elderly parent maintain their independence. They can continue the lifestyle they want at home.
Discuss assisted living options that can support an elderly parent
Many older people reach an age when it is no longer safe or comfortable for them to remain at home. Moving a parent into a senior living community can be a great way to ensure that they are safe and properly cared for.
Your elderly parent will be surrounded by other seniors and will have the opportunity to take part in exciting activities and events. If you think that your aging loved one would benefit from moving into a senior center, talk about assisted living options with them.
Help them with their end-of-life plans
The idea of a time in life when your parents aren’t around is a difficult conversation for most. Although it may feel impossible to begin planning for seniors, getting through this conversation will help alleviate stress and help you honor your parents’ final wishes for their life and body.
Stay in regular contact
Recently, the US Census Bureau revealed that about a third of older adults live alone. Sadly, many older people feel lonely and isolated. That’s especially true if they have been widowed or lost friends to age or illness. According to aplaceformom.com, loneliness can encourage unhealthy habits and increase the risk of health complications, such as cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.
To help keep them from feeling lonely, support an elderly parent by staying in regular contact with them. Check how they are doing. Planning family gatherings can be a great way to bring loved ones together in a way that involves your elderly parents.
Obviously, be mindful of your social bubble during the pandemic. If it is safer, connect by phone or video chat on Zoom, Skype, or WhatsApp instead of in-person visits. Video software is also great for staying connected with folks who live a far distance away from you.
It’s worth teaching your elderly parents how to use this technology to stay in touch. Then they can enjoy social time with you and other family and friends.
Update the home to better support an elderly parent
Older adults are more susceptible to accidents in their homes. They are at a high risk of falls, for example, because of bad eyesight and balance issues.
As your parents get older, adjust their home accordingly. Why? To make it more senior-friendly. Some of the main areas of the home to focus on are the kitchen, bathroom, and stairs.
You can make these areas more elder-friendly. For instance, consider adding anti-slip devices, such as mats or floor coverings. Other examples are adding safety rails to the bathroom and widening doorways. Widen the doorway to fit a wheelchair, walker, or scooter.
What are some other ways to support an elderly parent?