Having aged parents can definitely take a toll on you and your loved ones. Since you have lived all your life is dependent on them, it becomes difficult when the roles are reversed and you as the child are now in the position of the caregiver. Many families often find this season to be quite challenging as it can lead to stress, misunderstandings and communication breakdowns. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case for you. Read on to discover the best ways to take care of your elderly loved ones:
- Medical attention
Like most people, the older your parents are, the higher their risk of getting certain diseases. According to the census.gov that covered the period of time between 2008 to 2012, it was estimated that nearly 40 percent of people aged 65 years and older had at least one disability. This report shows the importance of proper medical care for elderly persons. Make it a priority to ensure that your elderly parents get regular check-ups by a licensed health professional. If they are disabled, then it would be necessary for you to invest in senior citizen mobility aids which will prevent their condition from worsening. Prevention is better than cure at all times. So try as much as possible to take steps to ensure their safety.
- Social well-being
Everyone reaches a certain stage in life where they begin to lose their friends and agemates due to old age and sickness. For your elderly parents, they may be feeling lonely since a good number of their friends have either already died, or are unable to spend adequate time with them due to sickness or other reasons. For this reason, it is extremely important for you to make an effort to provide your elderly parents with an opportunity to attend social events and celebrations. Whether it is family gatherings or local Bingo meetings, make an effort to improve your elderly parents’ quality of life by encouraging meaningful social interactions.
- Mental health problems
Mental health is a major issue among senior citizens since many of them suffer from depression and anxiety. The unique stage of life that your parents are in can easily take a toll on their psychological well-being, especially if they are enduring aggressive medical treatment or grieving the loss of a loved one. In light of this, it is essential for you to make it a priority to not only cater to their physical well-being but their mental well-being as well. Look out for any sudden changes in behavior and when necessary, seek the help of a counselor or psychologist who can help your loved ones to cope with the emerging pressures of life.
- Sense of purpose
As your parents are approaching the end of their lives, they may find themselves losing a sense of purpose and motivation. Since the majority of the senior citizens have retired from their jobs, it can be quite monotonous for them to spend large amounts of time feeling unproductive. For this reason, you should encourage them to learn a new hobby or skill which will give them a new sense of purpose. They can also participate in volunteer work or mentorship programs where their skills and expertise can be passed down to the next generation.
If your elderly parents have a caregiver or are in an assisted living facility, then they can often feel over-dependent on others for their daily activities. One way to give them a sense of independence is by allowing them to make certain choices affecting their lives. For instance, even if they need assistance with feeding, let them choose which food they prefer to have. In addition, allow them to have a say on which retirement home they wish to go to. Such decisions help to reassure them that they are still in control of their lives and are not fully dependent on other people.
- Visit them
Apart from Christmas and Thanksgiving, how many times do you visit your parents in a year? If your elderly parents are always complaining that you never call or visit them, then you should definitely make a point to spend more time with them. For elderly parents, one of the things that bring the most joy is to be surrounded by family and friends. So take every opportunity to spend more time with them. This can involve organizing family gatherings, having a designated game night every week, or even calling your parents regularly to ask how they are doing. All this will go a long way in improving their level of joy and happiness.
- Stay active
When on retirement, it is easy to settle into a sedentary lifestyle. To avoid this scenario, you can encourage your elderly parents to get physically fit by engaging in suitable exercises and sports. Swimming, yoga and light cardio are all potentially suitable exercises for senior citizens. However, it is always important that they consult their doctor before embarking on any workout regime. A great way of getting your elderly parents motivated to work out is to join them in the fun! When they begin to see exercise as a bonding activity that you enjoy doing with them, then they will be more willing to stay committed to a workout regime. Living an active lifestyle also involves sharpening their mind with board games, puzzles, reading and other activities for mental stimulation.
- Travel together
Majority of people regard traveling as one of the top items on their bucket list. If your parents have always wanted to go on a cruise or a safari, then why not give them the opportunity to do so while in their sunset years? For your elderly parents, taking them to travel and see the world could be one of the most cherished experiences that they will remember forever. So start saving early and invest in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel with them. You can be certain that they’ll enjoy every moment.