Watching a parent grow old can be strange, especially when they start showing symptoms of illness. After looking at your mom and dad as strong, parental roles throughout your whole life, the idea of them now needing assistance is difficult to wrap your head around. The truth is, it is a natural part of life, and it’s an opportunity for you to give back all those years they spent giving you the best life they could.
Whether your senior parent is sick or not, there will be ways you can help them manage daily life.
The first step is to make sure you visit them enough. Many elderly folks complain of loneliness, which can lead to depression, so make sure they have enough visitors. No matter how busy you are and how much work you have going on, you should always find time for your parents.
You should also encourage your other family members, friends, or neighbors to do the same. If enough of you visit regularly, then your parents are sure to never feel lonely. On the times you can’t manage to go around, then pick up the phone and have a chat.
Consider Assisted Living
Deciding whether or not your elderly parent needs assisted living can be tricky. The first step in knowing whether or not they are ready is to talk to them and ask them how they are managing daily tasks and whether they have any health concerns.
By finding assisted living programs, you give your parent the chance of excellent healthcare and a community to share their lives with. Don’t beat yourself up if you cannot manage the care all on your own – sometimes, it’s necessary to get professionals involved. It is what nurses are there for, after all!
Know the Signs
While you want to see your parents as constantly strong and resilient, you must also know the signs that they need extra help. Some of these include:
- Memory loss
- Neglecting hygiene
- Changes in personality
- A messy home (especially when they were previously tidy)
By knowing what to look out for, you can step in and provide extra care when they need it, which will lessen the chance of accidents and illnesses getting worse. Finding assisted living for your parent can be a daunting task, but if they need it, then you will be providing them with a higher quality of life.
Take Them Out
Visiting your elderly parents is one thing, but taking them out into the world gives them something even more fun to look forward to. Just because they’re older doesn’t mean they don’t want to visit museums and have a shopping trip!
If you can, you could even schedule monthly trips and go somewhere new each time. It will give both of you something to look forward to and strengthen your bond even more. Many older people struggle with depression, and getting out-and-about is a way to ward that off.
Over the past few decades, technology has taken over the world – don’t let your parents miss out on that! There are plenty of ways they can use tech to better their lives, including social interaction, playing games, and looking up things they are interested in.
There is no need to bombard them with everything at once. Introducing them to a laptop and showing them how to use social sites is a great first step and provides you with an extra way of contacting them. You never know; they might send you memes before long!
Do Their Shopping
If your parent struggles to get out to do their shopping, then offer to do it for them if you live close enough. It’s a simple way of providing care while giving you a chance to spend time with them. You could even do your shopping while you do theirs, cutting down on time overall. Many seniors struggle to reach top shelves and carry a load of groceries, so the extra pair of hands is extremely beneficial.
If you can’t take them shopping, why not see if you can get their food delivered?
Take Them to Clubs
Social interaction is important for the elderly, and you cannot provide all of it. If they don’t have many friends living nearby, then offer to take them to local clubs. While it may be daunting for them to travel on their own, that extra helping hand might push them to join a community of like-minded people and increase their social circle. Humans are social creatures, so it’s necessary for them to get out there and enjoy friendships, and you can help them do that!
Cook for Them
Cooking is a sport and not one that every elderly person can manage each day. You needn’t cook seven extravagant meals for them every week; just do a little batch cooking and pop them in their freezer. It means that they always have an easy meal to pull out and put in the microwave without having to eat unhealthy ready meals all the time.
Look After Yourself
Caring for your elderly parents doesn’t mean you should neglect yourself. To be able to provide them with the help they need, you must first be mentally and physically well, which means engaging in self-care.
Avoid burning out by making sure you take enough time for yourself. It can be as simple as a bubble bath or a walk in nature – whatever it is, make sure it is peaceful. All too often, adults overwork themselves, but it doesn’t benefit anybody, so look after yourself just as much as you look after your parents.
You have had a life-time with your parents, so share your favorite memories with them. Nothing lifts the spirits quite like a trip down memory lane – talk about the times when you were young, when you had a rebellious phase, and the big milestones in both of your lives. Laughter is the best medicine, and talking through your best moments is a sure way of getting you both laughing about the life you’ve shared.