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It can be difficult to see a parent get older and no longer care for themselves as well as they used to, but there are many ways that you can help them at this time in their life which will allow them to age gracefully and ensure that you remain close. The key is regular communication, providing support in any way that they need and being aware of any areas of daily life that they are struggling with or signs of illness. So, if you have a parent that is beginning to age and you are worried about how you can help them, then read on for a few tips.
First, it is vital that you can speak to them about the subject of aging and the future. Although it can be a delicate subject, it is in everyone’s best interest to communicate so that you can understand what their wants and needs are as they get older. By showing that you are there for them, it will provide them with a great deal of comfort which is hugely important. In addition to speaking to them about their needs going forward, it is also important to keep in regular touch with them simply to provide emotional support and to keep them socializing.
Speak To Siblings/Support Network
It is also important to keep any siblings or their support network in the loop so that everyone understands what will be happening going forwards and so that you can spread the care amongst yourselves. It can be harder for some people to help more than others for many different reasons, but the most important thing is that the parent is getting all the support that they need.
Take Them Out & Encourage Socialization
It can be easy for people to become isolated when they get older, particularly if they are not mobile. It is for this reason why it is a good idea to take them out whenever you visit and to encourage them to socialize in any way they can whether this is joining a club or speaking to their neighbors. Socialization is crucial for mental health and getting out is good for many different reasons. Whenever you do see them, make sure that you are doing things that they want to do and enjoying one another’s company in addition to speaking about any problems that they may be facing.
Introduce Them To Technology
Technology and the internet have made it easier than ever to stay in touch with people, and this can be fantastic for aging parents, particularly if there are friends and family that live far away. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the older generation are unfamiliar with this technology as it is relatively new. Therefore, you should show them how to stay in touch with people online and it could have a big impact on their happiness and mental health.
Address Health Concerns Early
Deteriorating health is a major concern for an aging parent which is why you should always look out for any symptoms and discuss their health with them regularly. If you are concerned, you can put their symptoms into a virtual doctor to see if it is something that you should get checked out. You can read more here about this helpful app here. It will help you to decide whether or not it is a serious issue that you need to see a healthcare professional for.
Attend Appointments With Them
If they do have any health care appointments, it is a smart idea to attend these with them both to stay on top of any health issues and also to provide emotional support. These appointments can be intimidating, so it is good for them to have someone there for them and carefully listening to what the doctor has to say.
If your parent wants to stay in their home when they get older, then you may need to consider making a few adjustments to the house, such as a stairlift or grab rails in the bathroom. It can also be helpful to hire a professional caregiver. In addition to helping them with their day to day activities, this can also be helpful for socializing and having somebody keeping an eye on them. Alternatively, if the parent is struggling to look after themselves and live in their current home, then it might be best to move them into a care home. It can be a difficult decision, and it is one which should not be taken lightly, but in many cases, these care homes can provide a new lease of life while also making sure that they are well cared for around the clock. Another alternative is to have them move in with you or a sibling. Although this can be a good financial situation, it can put a strain on your relationship, particularly if you have your own family. Any decision should be made with the parent and the entire support network, and you should always show that you have their best interests in mind.
Look After Yourself
Finally, it is important that you look after yourself and do not neglect your own life, job or family. It is important that you are there to care for your parent and do what you can to help them, but you also need to look after yourself, and this is what any parent would want for their child. This means that in addition to the above you should be socializing, eating well, exercising and spending quality time with your family and friends too.
Seeing a parent age is difficult to do, especially if they are on their own. As their child, it is your responsibility to return the favor and look after them as they age but this can be a daunting task. The above are a few ways that you can provide the support that they need and help them to age with grace. The key for everyone to communicate, to stay on top of any health-related issues and to make sure that they are still able to lead a social and enjoyable lifestyle.