What do you do when ageing parents need help?
Many ageing parents want to stay at home, but they do not know what it takes to remain independent and self-sufficient. Approaching your parents with respect, empathy, and understanding is an excellent way to reach an agreement that works for all parties involved.
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When ageing parents need help.
Whether adult children have daily care tasks or regularly swoop in from afar, the constantly growing difficulties faced by their older parents keep life out of balance.
When you talk about senior life with your ageing parents or loved ones, focus on the benefits and make sure they feel they are their decision.
Nobody wants to grow old.
A change in living situations often occurs when the ageing parent needs more care than the family can or needs more supervision to keep him safe.
So, start your conversation with your parents by reassuring them you are working towards a lifestyle that makes everyone happy and healthy.
Remember that giving them options will provide them with the feeling that their opinions still matter and still an independent being.
My Turn: As a child of older parents
For most of my adult life I’ve felt sad and angry because my father died when I was only 26 years old, a time when I still needed his fatherly advice. He was 53 when I was born in 1958 and 80 when he died in 1985. He was seemingly healthy when he died suddenly of a massive heart attack, so I never had a chance to say goodbye.
When retirement descended upon me, I found myself relocated and with extra time on my hands. As I was “unpacking the boxes” of my life (quote shamelessly borrowed from the title of one of Donald Hall’s books of essays), I stumbled upon the Modern Library edition of “Moby Dick.”
If you have difficulty getting your older parents to accept your help, remember that your roles are now reversed in a way they may find troubling.
Some of the most challenging transitions involve the loss of driving privileges, the need for ongoing care, financial control of assets, and possible relocation to a new home.
Grandchildren, nieces, and nephews can learn a lot by spending time with older family members, and for their loved ones, it can help them feel younger and more involved in family activities.
Prepare for the future with your family.
Care for older parents is not an easy task, but it can be challenging if you live out of town and don’t see them constantly.
As ageing parents lose their independence because of physical ailments, they are likely to have strong, negative feelings about this process.
Remember to involve the family.
If you and your parent decide that the best place for them is in your home, understand that living with a parent will most likely lead to a change in family roles.
You owe it to your physical and mental health to understand what is going on and how you can get the support you need to make a plan that benefits everyone in your family.
Many older adults move in with their adult children as they age to be closer to their extended family and get more help with those complex tasks.
Time for both parents may be less.
When deciding where a parent should live, family members must discuss, understand, and accept the benefits and disadvantages of living close to one relative versus the other.
Family meetings with parents, spouses, children, siblings, and other important people will help everyone share their views and help you decide how best to proceed.
Finding the right mix for their well-being and happiness takes some time and is a dynamic condition that will change over time, perhaps even daily.
If a parent needs help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, grooming, etc., it is possible to hire aides at home, although this can be expensive.
Besides listening, take the time to learn about your loved one’s interests and develop a plan to integrate them into everyday life.
As with any relationship, boundaries are essential, and sometimes caring for your older parents is not in your best interests.
These roles are challenging for everyone.
A few things to remember with this living option is that you must take on more responsibility in the home, you may have less time for yourself, and your home may feel crowded.
Instead of thinking, I have only one hour to be with Dad, decide what you can do together, while it is meaningful to both of you.
By paying particular attention to these cautious steps, you can save your family a world of headaches later when circumstances change rapidly.
What age do we think is elderly?
In most industrialised nations in the west, someone is considered a senior at 65. But remember: This figure is based mainly on retirement age and the age at which most social benefits become introduced. Many people do not consider someone a senior until they are at least 70 years old.
Although a sudden illness or a financial setback seems to force a decision, it is worth investigating how that decision will affect you and your family.
Regardless of your family dynamics, if you have an open dialogue and hear everyone out, you can be on the same page as your parents’ wishes, and that means all the family members involved.
If you have siblings or other family members involved in the care of your parents, you will meet to ensure that everyone agrees.
You may need to consider their health.
This may sound like a familiar scenario in which an elderly family member either insists that he is still healthy enough to work or that he does not need help in his daily tasks despite his struggles.
If they are already older and still in good health and live independently, we may not feel dramatic changes or concerns.
Let’s live happily ever after.
Most people do not consider caring for an elderly parent in their own home until they have a setback or crisis with their health.
Nutrition is the key to healthy ageing, so you need to make it a priority for your loved ones, especially if they cannot do it themselves.
When it is abundantly clear that your parents need help, address it now rather than wait until a significant health crisis occurs.
If you want to prevent dangerous falls in an ageing adult, be proactive about getting the right kind of medical assessment after a fall. Here are 8 things it is suggested that you get the Doctor to check after an ageing person falls. #ageingcarehttps://t.co/nlL3UultB1 pic.twitter.com/JGtOZCPiDI
— Curam (@Curamuk) February 21, 2020
Loneliness may not seem to be a major problem, but it can affect both a person’s quality of life and physical health.
You may react to a health crisis they recently had or consider the move as a preventive measure because he is slowly losing the ability to care for himself.
Engage all health care providers in this process so you can better understand what type of care might be needed in the years ahead.
Mental health is just as important.
Serious illnesses or certain chronic conditions can lead to older adults losing the ability to make their health decisions or monitor their medical care.
Having these more difficult conversations will be more effective for everyone if there is a genuine understanding of health and safety concerns.
There will always be questions with your loved one.
Being a caregiver for an elderly parent or loved one can often make you feel like you’re on an island, but various networks and resources help you feel less alone.
Just because you have found that your loved one needs extra support does not mean it must be provided exclusively by you.
Always take care of your parents.
But every day, millions of families agonise when it is the right time to step in and decide on behalf of their older loved ones.
Adult children often find it challenging to think about the possibility that one or both parents cannot care for themselves one day.
This can include bringing in help to help your parents, such as home health assistance or parents attending day-to-day programs.
- Try to make them feel wanted, not forced out.
- Your parents might have no friends outside of the house.
- Look after yourself when caring for your elderly loved one.
- It’s just one way children care for their elderly relatives.
- Mature parents often find themselves in a vulnerable position.
- With elderly parents, siblings may also be a source of stress.
Elderly parents refuse assisted living and care because they feel they no longer have freedom, independence, and options.
You probably know carers are more likely than those in the general population to report they are doing a poor to fair job in managing stress and getting enough sleep.
Although your parents may seem less capable than they once were, show respect for the life experience they have gained and the great sacrifice they may have made for you.
You must maintain essential relationships.
If you’re not living near your ageing parents, you can help them from afar by contacting their local friends or neighbours who can contact them in person and help you monitor how they are doing.
The more aware we are of how ageing can affect them and what options they have as seniors and us as caring adult children, the better for all involved.