As the baby boomer generation continues to age, more and more people have shown concern about their aging parents and relatives.
You should know that caring for seniors and aging parents is a long-term plan. Mostly, the senior care falls onto adults while they are still responsible for bringing up their own children. These adults also fall under the “sandwich generation” because they feel sandwiched between the two generations who depend on them.
Amidst all that and juggling a career along with taking care of the household, it is okay to feel overwhelmed at times.
But taking care of your parents doesn’t mean you’ll have to put your own life on hold. All you need to do is take the right approach to fulfill all your responsibilities.
Here we have some tips for you to take care of your aging parents the right way. Select what works best for you and your family and streamline your life and their golden years.
● Try to keep a close eye on your parent’s health
One of the best ways to take care of your elderly parents is to know how they are doing.
This can help you keep a close eye on your parent’s well-being and provide adequate solutions to their problems.
This may involve regular calling, Facetiming, frequently visiting your parents and assisting them to their doctor’s appointments. And thanks to technology, you can do all these things single-handedly.
Not to mention, you being there for them in their struggling years can be a bit of relief, especially if they’ve lost their partner. So, add calling your parents on your to-do list to ensure that they are feeling okay.
You should also know that in many cases, detecting the actual health status of aging parents could be really tough.
Many struggling seniors often tend to hide whatever they are going through to avoid going for therapies and doctor appointments. In such a situation, it would be best to look out for the signs and discuss their solutions with healthcare professionals.
● Come up with a long-term plan
According to the World Health organization’s reports, nearly 10 million and 19.3 million cases of dementia and cancer have been registered, respectively. In fact, more than 43% of the seniors need constant help with their day-to-day activities such as getting dressed, feeding, or bathing.
It is needless to say that aging affects your parent’s physical and mental state. That’s why even if your parents are okay with their current living situation, you have to think about the possibilities down the road.
So, your next step to take care of your aging parents would be to know all about their medical history and talk to them about their current living situation. Help your parents realize what healthcare assistance they might need in the near future.
For instance, cancer patients need to undergo cancer therapies on a regular basis to make sure they live their normal life span. Or dementia patients need to be under constant surveillance so that they don’t end up hurting themselves or someone else.
This will help you to access your possible options and come up with a long-term plan so that you can manage everything, including your parent’s care, all at once.
● Keep your parents active and engaged
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20% of people go through mental challenges such as depression and anxiety by the age of 55.
This is because, with age, people start feeling lonely and try to cut off from their social circles, especially if they’ve lost their spouse.
Retirement and old age can lead to boredom and isolation. And both of them are not good for your parent’s physical or mental health.
So, you need to encourage your parents to attend social gatherings so that they can meet and greet people of their age and start feeling reconnected. This will help them find solace in people who are also going through the exact same thing. It will also take their mind off of their current situation and help them feel part of a group again.
You can also spend your weekends taking your parents for a picnic, shopping or maybe even a movie. This will help them get out of their bed and add fun and entertainment to their golden years.
● Create a safe living space
Whether your parents live with you or independently, either way, you have to create a safe space for them to live comfortably.
You should know that older adults are much more prone to slips, falls, and severe injuries. So, it would be best to create their living space much more safe and accessible.
For this, you would have to start with the bathroom, which can be really slippery and risky. You can consider installing a shower chair or grab bars to reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
You can also get a stairlift installed so that your parents don’t have to sprain their knees every time they climb the stairs.
With the help of some structural modifications, you can easily make your parent’s life much more comfortable and, best of all, safe.
● Don’t feel guilty about getting help
See, not every time can you be there with your parents. You have to run errands, look after your household and meet professional commitments. Having too much on your plate might end up making you feel exhausted and frustrated. And that’s no good.
You should realize that there is no shame in hiring additional help to look after your parents. It will help you share the load and make things a little easier down the road.
For this, you can hire a caregiver, enroll your parents in an adult day program, or sourcing a volunteer who can take your parents out for excursions every now and then.
And if you feel that you are not being able to provide adequate care for your parents, you can get them registered for assisted living programs. The professionals will help your parents meet their needs in the best possible way.
In the end,
Taking care of elderly parents can be challenging not only for you but also for them. So, use the tips mentioned above and look after your parents without making them or yourself feel overwhelmed.