As the baby boomer generation ages, many adults are now finding themselves in the position of helping their senior parents cope with the challenges that come with it. For some it can be a relatively smooth experience if their parents are in good health and do not require lifestyle changes, but then there are others whose parents may require more hands-on support and care.
This brings up the question of how you can best help your elderly parents cope with aging and ensure their needs are being met. Here are some great tips and advice you can use during this stage of life.
Offer Them Help and Support Whenever Possible
Sometimes all your parents need is a little help and support with daily chores, tasks and errands. That could be simple projects like helping them with the yard work, taking them grocery shopping, going with them to a doctor’s appointment and even helping them with some meal preparation. They may not need help daily, but these extra bits can make life easier for them.
Let Your Parents Decide When Help is Needed
Speaking of helping your parents, you must let them take the lead. They shouldn’t feel as though you’re taking over their lives and dictating their schedule. Let them have control and let them ask you for help when they want/need it.
Be There to Listen to Them
Another way you can help them cope with aging is to be there to listen to them. Not everyone accepts aging the same way. Some seniors feel a sense of sadness, loneliness, stress, anger and so forth. Being that person that will listen to them, not judge them on their feelings and instead show them love and understanding can make a huge difference.
It’s also important to note when their feelings may be becoming harmful to their health. For example, if they seem depressed and sad all the time, then a visit to their doctor would be wise.
Hiring a Support System May Be Necessary
If your parents’ needs are more than you can cover on your own, you may want to consider putting a support system in place. Hiring people to help with chores, cooking, personal care (showering and toileting), cooking and eating can make a world of difference.
Discuss the Transition to Assisted Living
If your parents already live in an independent living facility but they are showing signs that it’s too much for them, then it may be time to have a discussion. Knowing when to transition to assisted living can be tricky and it’s a personal experience.
Generally speaking, assisted living is meant for seniors who require some help from caregivers when it comes to their personal needs. That could mean things like help with getting washed and dressed, toileting, cleaning, medication management, etc. Residents in assisted living can do pretty well on their own, but just require that extra bit of help that they wouldn’t receive in an independent living facility.
As your parents age, there is no right or wrong path to take. Helping them cope with aging is something that will change as their needs change, so you need to be flexible and sensitive to what they are going through.