One day, you may end up caring for an aging parent. It happens. Many aging parents will not:
- be able to drive
- change their clothes
- climb the stairs
- do other activities that require a lot of energy
As painful as it seems, we should prepare them for a comfortable stay during the last years of their lives.
Supporting your aging parent
Nobody wants to think about their parent’s aging, let alone to talk about it. Every situation is unique, meaning that you should ensure that the solutions you develop work for your family members. It’s also important to know when to help and how to lend a hand.
Empathize with your parents
During their later years, your parents might experience mood swings, frustrations and neediness behavior. Sometimes you might feel like they are unpleasant to be around, which could be true. However, amidst all this, you should be empathetic and understand where they are coming from. Loss of friends, energy, mobility, independence, and employment is not a comfortable situation. Consider how you would have felt had it been you and excuse their behavior.
Seek out potential problems
Take some time to scrutinize your parent’s home and surroundings for any necessary changes and repairs. Make sure that you deal with potential pitfalls. For instance, is there proper lighting on the stairs? Is there uneven flooring? Ensure that the necessary emergency items are within reach and that they have the relevant emergency contact information, such as that of a social security disability attorney.
Involve other family members
When you are helping your parents, do not shoulder all the responsibility because you might end up feeling overwhelmed. Talk to your siblings and other relatives and develop a plan on how you will ensure that your parents are happy and all their needs are met. Communication is essential among family members. If one of you visits your parents, he or she should update the rest. That way, everyone will know how they are faring and can help out if possible.
Encourage them to be active
Many aging parents feel isolated because they do not engage in social activities anymore. However, it is essential for them to maintain an active lifestyle so that they can curb stress and lead a happy life. Talk to their friends, senior group members and religious leaders about involving them in active duties.
Your parents need help during their senior years. You can help them lead a high-quality life through the four ways above. Remember that they value your presence a lot; so, make time to be with them.
About the Writer: Emma is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2