Aging is a natural part of life. That doesn’t mean it makes the experience of watching your parents grow old and frail any easier. Watching them navigate the later stages of their life isn’t easy; you’ll feel everything from concern and empathy to uncertainty and frustration.
Your parents will most likely need assistance and support to maintain their well-being during these years. You’ll slowly see their independence decreasing as time passes, and you’ll see that the responsibility for their well-being will eventually fall on you. By being proactive and taking the necessary steps, you can provide them with the necessary assistance and ensure that you maintain that loving bond with them.
It isn’t always in your control to provide quality care to your aged parents, which is fine. We know navigating this can be challenging, so we have put together these six steps to help you.
So, let’s get started!
- Assess The Level Of Care They Need
The first and most crucial step is giving them the help they need. Your parents may rapidly display signs related to aging, such as diminished functionality, disorientation, aggressiveness, and loss of motor and cognitive abilities. On the other hand, their health could gradually deteriorate. In either case, your best option is to speak with them openly about their health and seek medical advice.
A healthcare provider will provide a detailed assessment of your parents’ health and help you determine whether they need aged care. If the diagnosis indicates that your parents might require additional support, discuss it with them and inform them about the assessment. This will help them be more open to external help and accept it without problems.
- Ensure A Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is crucial for your parents’ well-being. But there is a good chance your parents’ desire to cook for themselves diminishes with time. This means that they might slowly reduce their food intake. This isn’t healthy for them, especially if they suffer from health conditions.
Consult their healthcare provider and prepare a diet chart for them. Use this chart as a guide and prepare meals for them according to it. You can also prepare and freeze meals in advance if you are busy.
We understand that each aged person’s nutrient requirement varies depending on underlying health conditions. However, ensure your parents consume all the necessary nutrients to maintain their well-being and follow the doctor’s advice religiously.
- Visit Them Often
While setting them up for senior care can be difficult, it must be done for their well-being. After doing it, you must ensure you visit them as often as possible. They need social interaction with you to feel connected to you. When you visit them regularly, you’ll also be able to determine whether they are being cared for properly. So, it’s a win-win! During your visit, check their space for any problems and discuss their well-being with their caregiver.
If your parents still live in their home and you have hospice care, check around the home for any issues. Check the overall cleanliness and maintenance of the home and the groceries, and see if there is something that they want you to fix.
- Check Their Medication
It is a given fact that your parents probably need medication at this old age. You must ensure they have ample supply and that you fill and refill their prescriptions on time. Buying a pill organizer with labeled compartments is your best bet if they consume several medicines daily. This will help them consume their medication on time and simplify the process.
- Finances and Paperwork
Managing your parents’ finances is a given at this point in their life. Even though talking about money can be awkward and challenging, discussing their needs and expenses openly is essential, primarily if they depend on a fixed income or must stick to a budget.
Talk to them about their finances, including their sources of income, expenses, savings, and any debts or other responsibilities they may have. Knowing their financial situation will enable you to make wise choices and offer proper support. Offer to help them manage their finances by arranging their bills, setting up automated payments, or assisting them with making a budget.
It is critical to take care of your parents’ paperwork too. This could entail discussing their power of attorney, will, healthcare directives, and other legal documents. Although these discussions can be challenging, doing so is essential. It helps you ensure that your parent’s wishes are honored, and their affairs are in order.
- Keep Them Active and Involved
Keep your parents active and involved in daily activities. Exercise is crucial to keep them healthy and improve their mobility. You can consult their healthcare provider for more guidance on the type of exercise they can indulge in and the time they need to dedicate to it.
Moreover, keep your parents in the loop and involve them in family affairs. This reinforces a sense of belonging and reduces the chances of them feeling alone, isolated, or depressed.
It would also help if you encouraged them to make new friends and peers in the local community. Spending time with someone who belongs to their school of thought and is social and active will help them slowly develop the same traits.
The Bottom Line
Taking care of aging parents can be a challenging journey, but it is also a rewarding one. Following these steps, you can provide the necessary support and assistance to ensure their well-being and maintain a loving relationship.
Remember to assess their level of care, ensure a balanced diet, visit them often, check their medication, manage their finances and paperwork, and keep them active and involved. Each step is vital in enhancing their quality of life and making their aging process more comfortable and enjoyable.
It’s not always easy, and there may be ups and downs, but remember that your love and care make a significant difference in their lives. Embrace this journey with empathy, patience, and understanding, and cherish your precious moments with your aging parents. They deserve the best care and support, and you can positively impact their lives.