How to help your aging parent
Seeing our parents’ age and need extra help can be difficult for us because as their children, they are there protect us while we transition into adults. While each situation is unique, there are great ways to help your parents who may need a helping hand around the house or 24/7 care.
Assess your parent’s needs
Caring for an aging parent can be overwhelming, especially if their health is deteriorating rapidly, or they have a physical disease such as Alzheimer’s. Consider the following areas and whether they have issues surrounding them:
• Home safety
• Medical needs
• Mobility issues
• Personal hygiene
• Meal preparation
• Social interaction
• Cognitive health
Have a caregiving notebook so that you can keep track of your parent’s needs and highlight any issues that arise and need proper care. For parents that need medication management or help with meal preparation, for example, contact Caring Advisor. Such organizations can help you plan and discover the type of care your parent needs so that they can live comfortably.
Keep in touch
Calling by or picking up the phone is not much hassle, and a five-minute call could make your parent’s day. Your parents simply wish to hear from you, so tell them about your day, your plans for the evening or coming weekend, and ask how they are feeling and doing.
If you do not live nearby and are unable to see them in person as much as you wish to or they need, reach out to other family members who live closer. When helping aging parents, do not take all the responsibility yourself and enlist enough help so that you and your parents are not stressed.
It can be difficult for someone who was once able to come to terms with needing help. There can be some resistance, to begin with, and while it can be frustrating for you, remember that their unpleasant behavior is down to them losing a part of their independence.
There will be up days and down days but show your parents that you are there to help and offer solutions to any problems they may be having.
Remove hazards within the home
You will need to prevent falls and make their home as accessible as possible. Removing hazards can keep your parents independent for longer but also give you peace of mind. Some solutions are easier than others, while others are larger and may include your parent downsizing and moving to a home without stairs.
• Make sure all flooring is clear from wires, cords, and rugs
• Place grab bars in bathrooms
• Change the lighting so that it is as bright as possible
• Swap out appliances so that they have newer and simpler technology within the home
Do not neglect your home health and happiness
It is easy to forget your own needs, but it is important that you remember to put yourself first. You should not have to neglect your own needs and life when caring for your parents, and what’s more, your parents should not want this from you either.
It may be that you are not the best person for the job – are you able enough yourself to care for them, or do you have an illness or commitments that stop you from providing them with the care they need or deserve?