When you get older so do your parents, and soon they may be at a stage where they’re having trouble attending to daily tasks. While it can be a challenging transition for everyone involved, you can make it a smoother experience for all when you learn ways for how you can properly care for your aging parents.
It’s vital to come to terms with the reality of the situation and accept that this change is all part of life. Stay hopeful that your parents will be able to get along fine with your help and that they’ll continue to live a healthy and happy life even as they get older. With that in mind, below are five tips to help this process.
1. Gather all the Facts
You can properly care for your aging parents when you take the time first to gather all the facts. Sit down with them to chat, visit with their doctor and observe what’s going on yourself to help you closely monitor and gauge the circumstances. You need to be able to get a good read on what kind of shape they’re in and if you think they’ll be able to take care of themselves going forward. You won’t have a sound idea of what kind of help they may need until you can see for yourself what’s going on in the household and how each of your parents is getting along. Avoid playing guessing games and stick to the facts so you can best determine how you want to proceed. It’s not a wise idea to start making decisions and a game plan without first fully understanding how they’re doing and what their needs are.
2. Consider Your Options
Properly attend to your aging parents by doing your homework and discovering what choices are available to you regarding their care. One option is for you to consider putting them in assisted living so that they can receive the attention they require on a daily basis. This is a big decision, so you should take time to weigh all the pros and cons regarding the matter before coming to a conclusion. On the other hand, maybe there are enough people in your family who can pitch in and rotate checking in on them so it won’t be necessary for them to leave their home. Another idea is to enrol them in an adult day program where they can socialize and meet other people their age to help them stay engaged in life. They may genuinely like this interaction, and their health could begin to perk up in the right direction.
3. Ask for Help
Keep in mind that you don’t and shouldn’t have to carry the entire burden that comes with taking care of aging parents. Reach out to friends, immediate family, and extended family members and see who’s willing and available to work with you on this. No one will know you’re struggling or that you need an extra hand with caring for your aging parents unless you speak up and notify others of what you’re dealing with. Be aware that there are also plenty of community and hospital resources for you to turn to should you want additional ways and strategies to consider as you try to care for your aging parents. Remember there’s no shame in you admitting that you can’t do it all yourself and could use a little extra guidance and support given the position you’re in.
4. Remain Patient
Patience is essential if you’re going to be successful at caring for your aging parents. If you get worked up and emotional, then you may make the situation worse and more complicated. Try to maintain a level-head so you can think clearly and problem-solve with the intention that your parents can continue to live a nice life. You may not have all the answers right away, and it could take time before you get into a routine or schedule that works for everyone, so try to remain calm best you can. Dealing with doctors, hospitals and medical bills can be overwhelming, but you have to have a positive attitude and patience that it’ll all work out in the end. Understand that some days may be better than others and that you’re going to have to be flexible and open to new ideas as you begin to see and monitor what’s working and what’s not.
5. Care for Yourself in the Process
What you can’t do is forget about you in the process of properly caring for your aging parents. It’s just as important that you attend to your own needs and follow through with self-care activities if you want to have a more successful experience managing all that’s on your plate. A few ideas include:
- Making time for daily exercise
- Eating a balanced diet
- Getting plenty of sleep and rest
- Monitoring and reducing your stress levels
- Finding a hobby you enjoy doing in your free time
If you turn to unhealthy habits or behaviors because you’re overwhelmed, you may later regret it because you simply won’t feel good or like yourself. Try to carve out time each day to make sure you’re putting yourself first and aren’t letting your health and well-being fall to the wayside. You won’t be able to properly care for the ones you love if you’re also struggling and feeling worn out and exhausted most days. If you can, find someone who you can talk and open up to about what you’re dealing with and see if they can relate or have any advice for you.
Having aging parents can be challenging to process and sad to watch, but be glad to know there are ways for how you can experience a more relaxed time caring for them. Use these five tips so that you can quickly get headed in the right direction and help your loved ones have brighter days ahead. Instead of worrying and getting yourself worked up, focus on taking action that’s going to allow your parents to continue to live their lives to the fullest.
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