When we are young, we think our parents old. As we mature and age, we realize they were young and now they are old. Sometimes it is hard to see your parents become like our grandparents, but it is important to remember that they helped you through your life, and now you can return the favor so to speak.
Becoming a family caregiver is not an easy thing to do. You may have a family of your own, so now you will need to add your parents’ care, however, limited, into your weekly routine. Unless you are an only child, get your siblings involved in their care. Even if your siblings live in another state, a phone call every few days is helpful to your aging parents.
Below are 5 ways to help your aging parents:
1. Avoid Potential Problems
Just as you would with a new baby, walk around your parents’ home and look for potential problems. This could be cords and wires in their path to another room, which could cause a tripping hazard.
Labeling different shelves is another way to help them, this is for memory retention. When your parents know where things are, without having to spend time hunting for the item, it will give them the confidence they need to maintain living on their own.
2. Inspire Activity
Help your parents be as active as they can for as long as they can be. This may include walking with them or taking them to activities they enjoy participating in.
Check with local churches and senior centers for activities they might enjoy. Card games, puzzles, trips to the museum, and some exercise classes might just be the thing that brings your parents out of the house and back into society.
3. Help Them Downsize
Your parents may not be ready to move into a smaller house or an assisted living facility, but they could be having a hard time with so much stuff. It is natural for older people to accumulate a lot of items they don’t need or use. Some of the items could be yours and/or your siblings.
Take your time and go through things like boxes of papers and old clothing. Don’t do the cleaning and purging all at one time as it could overwhelm your older parents. Offer to take the items to the local thrift store and papers to a shredder for their safety.
4. Advocate for Them
When your parents are ill, take them to the doctor and make sure they get the care they need. If their health is declining, as the doctor what can be done. Perhaps exercising or physical therapy would be helpful.
Make sure your parents are not falling for online or telephone scams. Talk to them about how they need to be aware of sweepstakes scams and giving out too much information. Tell your parents to get a phone number from anyone that wants their information and you will call them back. Chances are, the person will hang up and not call back.
5. Be There
You may have children and a demanding career of your own, but the best thing you can do for your aging parents is to be there for them. They may call you more than normal as they get older and confused, but be patient with them.
You only have one set of parents and they will not live as long as you would like them to. Help them as much as you can.
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