Finding ways to take better care of your parents as they age is something we all have to face one day. Maybe you don’t remember when you first noticed that your parents were getting on in years. It could be as simple as forgetting the name of an old friend, or as scary as a fall.
For most people, parents feel like they exist at a fixed age that is somewhere around middle-aged or a bit older. So, when they start to show those signs that they may need support and consistent medical care, it is a very difficult moment. If they’ve spent their whole lives doing everything for themselves, from their taxes to the Christmas dinner, it’s going to be even harder for them.
You are going to have to start having some tough conversations with your folks. But be careful. If you go in recklessly, feelings can be hurt, and communication can break down. You need to find a way that you can work with your parents and with professionals to help look after them properly. If you’re feeling a little lost, here are some of the most important things you need to consider.
Talk To Their Doctors
When it comes to ways to take better care of your parents as they age, let’s start with a very important one – healthcare. It is not always easy to get a straight answer from your parents about the health issues that they are struggling with. If the relationship has deteriorated or if the topic is a bit of a sore spot, it’s not going to be easy getting answers from their doctors. They may have been told to keep your parents’ information private.
The best thing to do is to ask your parents straight up if you can have a conversation with their doctors so you can get to grips with any health problems or illnesses that they are having. That way, you will be more informed and more confident when it comes to those big decisions.
For example, some health issues can be addressed at home, with the proper medication and a few adjustments. Those adjustments may include things like installing an accessibility ramp for their front door, or a stair-lift if they really want to stay in their own home. You could even think about widening some of the doorways for wheelchair access and turning the bathroom into a wet room that will require less manual handling.
However, sometimes the best option is going to be a retirement community, which can give them a lot more options and independence than they may realize.
Look For The Right Retirement Home
Sometimes finding ways to take better care of your parents as they age means finding a retirement community. If you and your parents agree that a retirement home is the right choice for them, then the next step is finding the perfect place.
A lot of people find this step tough. It might feel like there are too many choices. Everyone will be telling you something different, and you’ll be incredibly worried about getting it wrong.
First on your list should be the kind of therapies, treatments, and care that they need. Does the retirement home that you are considering provide those services? Is the location somewhere that you can get to easily? Perhaps the most important question of all is: does it feel like somewhere your parent can call home?
For example, if your parent is Catholic, they will want to go somewhere that they feel like their faith is being understood. St Anne’s Retirement Community is a Catholic-centered community that honors all faiths. If you want to talk to the team about the care they provide and what they can offer, check out their website.
Here is something that is so important, especially as they start to get older and you begin looking for more ways to take better care of your parents. It can be incredibly demoralizing and even isolating to realize that you need more help than you are used to. Those little areas of independence that most people take for granted such as just getting in your car to go to the store get taken away, and it can have a serious impact.
Mental health is not just about burning out or feeling anxious. It can also be about feeling lonely. So, if you know that your parents are starting to need a little more help with the everyday stuff, try and be more present with them and for them. Remind them that you are there to talk, and not just about the boring stuff.
Keep Looking After Yourself Too
We’ve talked about how it can be tough for your parents as they age and begin to rely on you more and more. But one of the best ways to take better care of your parents as they get older is to take care of yourself as well. This journey can be so intense and so tough.
If you want to make sure that you are taking the best care of them that you can, then don’t push yourself to the breaking point. Keep talking to your friends and family about how you are feeling and let off some steam. Don’t be afraid to vent!
Keep looking for ways that you can give yourself a break, even if it’s just going for a walk around the block in the morning. Eat healthily, get plenty of exercise, and take some time to enjoy yourself. This way, you will be able to return to the situation at hand feeling more like yourself and so you can provide the absolute best care for your beloved parents.