It’s difficult to watch our parents and other family members grow older.
Issues that never surfaced before regarding their health, safety, independence and quality of life start appearing – and you’re forced to begin making difficult discussions with them or for them.
Here’s some advice to follow when assisting ageing parents.
Contact Them Regularly
Even though your life is busy with your career, family and household responsibilities, it’s crucial that you regularly contact your ageing parents. How else are you going to know when their care needs change?
In-person visits are the best way to truly see how your parents are faring. You can learn so much more in face-to-face than technology can provide.
But sometimes, in-person visits are not possible due to location or time constraints. If that’s the case, your next best communication method would be a video call so that you can still see your parent’s face when communicating.
Encourage Social Interaction
To avoid your ageing parents from becoming isolated, encourage them to attend social events and form social connections. Help your parents establish new hobbies (or take up old ones) and form new relationships with friends. Research senior centres in the area or contact a local resource organization for more ideas.
Having an active social life will contribute greatly to your ageing parents living longer, healthier lives.
Integrate Changes When Necessary
As much as it’s hard to admit, there will come a time when the care you can provide your ageing parents is no longer enough.
When that’s the case, explore options for additional care. Maybe hiring a caregiver to check in on your parents daily would be enough additional help. Other situations may involve moving your parents to a retirement or long term care facility.
Unsure what an appropriate care plan is for your ageing parent? Consider obtaining an assessment from a qualified professional to evaluate their needs.
Get their Affairs in Order
Find out from your parents if they have their legal affairs in order and become educated on their end of life arrangements.
Do they have an attorney? Where are their legal documents stored? Would they like a cremation or funeral? Encourage your parents to pre-plan their funeral or cremation if they haven’t already.
Being pro-active about your parents’ end of life wishes will help make that inevitable time a little bit easier for everyone involved.
The Bottom Line
Staying involved in your parents’ lives is the best way to know that their unique needs are being met throughout the ageing process.