Guiding Hands: Caring for Your Aging Parents with Love and Understanding

With tenderness, learn how you can support your love ones in the twilight of their lives.
Guiding Hands: Caring for Your Aging Parents with Love and Understanding

Your parents are your whole world. From the moment you were born, they’ve provided you with everything you’ve needed to grow and succeed; from great nourishment, useful life lessons, all the way to picking you up when things have gone wrong, they have been a staple of your life. However, when they get older the roles tend to reverse. They are suddenly the ones that need a little extra help or turn to you for advice. If you’ve noticed signs that your parents need someone to rely on, take a look at these tips on how to care for an ageing parent.

Photo by RDNE Stock project:

Understand their needs

It’s a difficult move to make, but to truly understand what kind of help they need from you, you need to assess their physical and mental health and if they have any daily living requirements. This might mean joining them on visits to their Doctor and making a note of their medications, or it might mean making little notes when you notice anything unusual with their mood or cognitive abilities. Don’t do this is secret though; this could damage your relationship. Make sure you keep open communication with your parents and express that your only intention is to make sure they stay fit and healthy for as long as possible.

Make sure their home is safe

You may be worried about how safe they are in their own home. Perhaps this is because they’ve fallen a few times in the recent past, or maybe it’s because you’ve noticed a few dangers in their home like trip hazards. Encourage and help them make changes to their home to prevent any falls or other injuries like installing rails in their bathroom, making sure they’ve got good lighting, and checking their smoke detector system.

You could also install a medical alert system in their home. This could be a pull chain or you could even install (with their permission) a camera in the main living areas of their home. It may also be useful for you to learn CPR in case you do find them in an unconscious state. The National CPR Foundation can help teach you the correct procedures if you do find them in such a state. Many people wonder, Is the national cpr foundation a scam, no. It’s worth the time to make sure your parents are safe and healthy under your care.

Give them emotional support

It’s not uncommon for ageing parents to begin feeling lonely or isolated, especially if they have lost their significant other. That’s why it’s important to spend real quality time with your parents. This doesn’t mean an obligatory visit each week to “check in” on them. It means doing activities they enjoy, taking them out to meet other people, and exploring other options for them that they can participate in when you’re not available. Giving them emotional support also means being an attentive listener and showing that you care for how they’re feeling about the changes they’re experiencing. 

Help them plan their future

Another difficult conversation to have is their plans for the future. However, making these decisions while they are sound of mind means they can have the end of life care that they are comfortable and happy with. You’ll need to talk about living arrangements if they become very immobile, what to do if they become terminal and aren’t in a sound mind to make their own decisions, and also who’s going to be the executor of their estate. Listen to their thoughts and feelings, and offer helpful feedback that could help them make the right decision. It’s important to approach this topic sensitively and make sure their feelings and decisions are respected.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

Assist them with their healthcare needs

As briefly mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to begin attending Doctors appointments with them and keeping an eye on which medications they need. This will help you make sure they have travel arrangements when they have an appointment and also to make sure they reorder their medications on time. Remember to be cautious with this as some elderly people feel like their life is being taken over - offer your support and help them make the right decisions.

Research long term care options

There may come a time where your parents need care that you simply can’t offer, so it’s important to take the time to look at long term care options like care homes or assisted living facilities. Knowing what levels of care come with each option will help you choose which is best for your parents. Cost may also come into play, so you’ll need to discuss this with your parents too, unless you’re planning on covering the cost of that yourself.

Take care of yourself

Taking care of an ageing parent can be physically and mentally demanding, and that’s why it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself too. Make sure you have time to rest, pursue your interests, and keep your body healthy too. After all, you won’t be any good if you’re burnt out! Look into respite services and don’t be afraid to reach out to other family members or even the local community.

Know what services are available

Speaking of the local community, it’s a good idea to look into what services are available to you. Many communities offer resources and services to help elderly people and any caregivers they have. This may be meal delivery services or even help with transport services. Don’t hesitate to ask for help!

Keep them active and healthy

Finally, keeping your parents active and healthy will help prolong their life and add enjoyment to it too. Attending aqua aerobics classes with them and cooking meals with them will help keep a healthy lifestyle going, while also continuing to build a lasting bond between you. Making a regular weekly-date of things will also give them something to look forward to.

By focusing on these tips, you can make sure that your parent’s later years are comfortable, healthy and happy!

Related Stories

No stories found.
Soulivity Magazine