Caring for Your Elderly Parents
Aging is a fact of life. As the years go on, we will start to notice changes in our parents’ appearance, standard of life, and emotions. We may not yet fully comprehend how aging will impact our lives and theirs when our parents are still in good health and are independent.
But eventually, we would have to face the reality that they would need long-term care.
Elderly people are susceptible to boredom, isolation, and loneliness. Mobility issues even exacerbated this problem. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 7 million adults above 65 fall into depression each year.
Caring for our elderly parents should always be on our list of priorities. It is more than just giving back. Caring for them when they turn frail and helpless is a way to show how much we love them. Here are some ways how we can show our care to our aging parents.
Keep in Touch
With distant communication just one click away from our fingertips, there should be nothing to prevent us from talking to our parents regularly. Zoom, Facetime, and Skype made it all easy to see your parents face to face even when you are miles away.
You might be used to calling them once a week or a few times a month, but consider reaching out to them more often. You should do so especially if they have lost their significant other, as they are more at risk of getting depressed. But with your daily calls, you can ease up any negative feelings they might have.
Show up Frequently
Only you can tell how often you show up at your parents’ front door. But whatever the number is, make sure you increase it. You know it in you that your parents will always love to have you around. Even with the availability of video calls, there is no substitute for seeing your parents in flesh and blood.
It is always good to check on your parents, how they are doing. On their part, they will always be delighted to see you in flesh. However, with this current situation brought by COVID-19, video calls are the best option to keep your parents safe from any health risks.
Encourage Them to Socialize
It can be stressful for your aging parents as they watch some of their friends and contemporaries die. They might become more isolated and depressed. To combat this, encourage your parents to join social events in the community. Urban and suburban areas have plenty of social gatherings for old people.
By encouraging them to go out, they can build new social connections. This allows them to somehow focus more on enjoying the present instead of moping about the uncertain future. Your parents might even realize they are extroverted after all.
Go Out With Them
Your parents also miss the times when they take you out to play in the park or eat at your favorite ice cream parlor. Thus, despite your busy schedule, find time to take them out to dinner, a concert, or any other entertainment venues in your city.
Consider Their Living Arrangement
Discussing with your elderly parents their preferred living arrangement is a crucial thing to do to ensure their well-being is taken care of. Do they live close to you or another family member? Do they prefer to live on their own or would love to be in a more supportive location?
These are some common types of living arrangements for your aging parents.
Aging at Home
Most seniors prefer this type of living arrangement as it gives them a sense of independence and privacy. While respecting your parent’s wishes on this one, it is still necessary to discuss having a professional caregiver or any other home support. There might come a time they would need one.
Living With Family
Aside from independent living, other elderly parents would prefer this type of living arrangement. Children and other family members could easily provide assistance and non-skilled health care support to their elderly parents. Plus, it gives children peace of mind knowing their parents are safe with them.
Independent Living Communities
This type of living arrangement suits the extrovert seniors who still are active even in their old age. They could rent or buy an apartment or house in a community along with other seniors. Amenities include clubhouses, gyms, and security.
Assisted Living Communities
If your parents are still relatively independent but would need some medical and caregiving assistance, an assisted living arrangement might best suit them. Caregivers are available to help them with their daily activities, including bathing, dressing, eating meals, and taking medication.
For elderly parents who need constant medical surveillance and caregiving, staying at nursing homes could be good for them. Nursing homes provide staff who are on-duty and are available 24/7. The only downside of nursing home living is that it can be expensive.
All of us can get busy at some point. But let us never forget to shower time and attention to our aging parents while they are still living.