Realizing your parents are getting older is a tough situation to manage and process and can be cause for some anxiety. You’re used to them being the caretakers, and now the tables have turned, and you’re the one having to figure out what’s best for your loved ones.
Know that you’re not alone and many people can relate to how you’re feeling and what you’re going through. The following guide is going to help you learn more about what you can be doing to care for aging parents so that you have a positive experience with this new transition in your life. While it may not always be an easy task, stay strong and have confidence that with the right approach you’ll be able to find peace and happiness with what is about to be your new normal.
Assess the Situation
Your first order of business should be to step back and access the situation at hand. For instance, just because your parents are old doesn’t mean they can’t do some tasks on their own. Have a conversation with them to get a better idea of how they’re feeling, what aches or pains they’re experiencing and what changes may need to be made so they can live a more fulfilling life. Try not to assume anything and instead focus on gathering the facts and learning more about what shape their health is in currently.
Explore Your Options & Educate Yourself
Another tip so you can better care for aging parents is to take the time to educate yourself on the matter and explore your options. For example, there are many resources and groups out there to help you cope and better understand how you can maturely and properly handle this situation. This is also a good time to find out more information about moving your parents into an assisted living facility if they’re no longer able to care for themselves at home. What’s most important is that you research the staff to resident ratio in assisted living and select a place that’s going to be able to give your parents the right amount of attention they deserve.
Check in Regularly
It’s vital that you check in regularly with your aging parents to make sure they’re doing okay at all times. It’s not a good idea to let days go by without calling or stopping by to see what’s going on with them. Doing so will not only be good for making sure they’re not experiencing any physical ailments but will boost their mental health and mood as well. If you have siblings, you should reach out and all pitch in and assist so that the responsibility of checking in each day isn’t solely on your shoulders. This will also help to minimize any surprises and stay ahead of any health issues that may suddenly arise and require attention.
Ask How You Can Help
You can better care for your aging parents by asking for how you can offer assistance. This will clear the air and make sure you and your parents are both on the same page when it comes to their health and wellbeing. Making assumptions or forcing your help on them when they don’t need it may make the situation worse or more uncomfortable. Speak up and discuss the tough questions regarding how they’re doing overall and what support they could use so that you’re taking care of the most critical needs first and foremost.
Find Activities You Enjoy Doing Together
Although your parents are getting older, it doesn’t mean they don’t like to have fun and relax. It’s a good idea to find activities that you enjoy doing together such as going for walks or playing games. Make it a point to visit them as often as possible and show them you care by simply being present in their lives. If they’re well enough, go to the movies on a random weekday afternoon or cook dinner together and eat a nice meal at the table. These are the sorts of actions you can take that are going to help lift their spirits and keep them engaged in life. Sometimes all they may want is to have a nice conversation over a cup of coffee and know that someone cares about them.
What’s going to allow you all to survive this type of change is that you practice patience with yourself and your parents. It’s a good idea to do your best to manage your stress so that you don’t say words or take actions in the heat of the moment that you’ll later regret. The fear of the unknown is real and can be a very overwhelming feeling for everyone involved.
The solutions you come up with first may not be the right ones for the long-term, so be kind to yourself as you work through the details and figure out what’s best for your aging parents. Remember that what’s most important is that you love each other and treat one another with respect during this difficult time. Each day may bring its own set of challenges, and you’re going to have to learn how to go with the flow and make the tough decisions based on what facts you have at the time.
You should now have a better idea of how to manage and deal with aging parents in your life. Use these tips as guidance for when you’re feeling lost or confused and aren’t sure how to proceed. Most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself and meet your own needs in the process. The better you are about making sure you’re healthy and well the easier it’s going to be to care for your loved ones. Accept that there will be bumps in the road and obstacles along the way, but that if you remain tolerant of and in control of the situation, you’ll be able to find brighter days ahead for you and your family members.