As our parents age, they will need our help. However, when the time comes for them to lean on you, you may not know what to do. It can be overwhelming trying to find out what they need, what their options are, and making different decisions on their behalf. In this article, we are going to look at a few things you can do to ensure they remain healthy and happy, and to help ensure you do not feel overwhelmed when the time comes.
Assess Their Needs
Before you can take any action, you need to understand what your parents need. If you do not know what they need, it is very easy to get overwhelmed. The main areas of help you need to think about include cognitive help, medical needs, family support, mobility, hygiene, safety, meals, and social interactions.
When trying to see what they need, try to assess how much help they are already getting in each of these areas.
Due to their health condition, your aging parents may require a higher level of care and special aids to live comfortably. Many older adults, age 65 or older, tend to lose some control of normal functions, such as their bladder and bowel. Incontinence can take a toll on seniors, especially those with limited mobility. Aside from factoring in material essentials such as incontinence protection pads and undergarments, you also have to consider the work that comes after a leakage.
It’s vital to look at every aspect of their lifestyle, health, and needs to provide your parents with the best care possible.
Think About Your Needs and Abilities
Although you may know what your parents need, are you the best person to provide it? Think about whether you are healthy enough to provide the care they need and if you have enough time to be available to them. Also, think about whether you would be able to live with them because you might have to do so depending on the level of care they need and what you are going to be providing. Lastly, think about whether you have a strong enough relationship to live with them without either of you developing negative feelings towards the other.
Consider an Independent Living Community
If your parents are still healthy and can take care of themselves and you do not think you can take care of them, you could consider an independent living community. These communities provide some level of care and socialization while letting your parents keep living their best lives and take care of themselves. An independent living community is very different from assisted living, although you can certainly consider assisted living if your parents need a lot of help and care with everyday activities.
Always Include Them
No one wants to feel left out, especially when decisions are being made about their life. Before you start taking care of your parents or decide an independent living community would be best for them, talk to them about it.
Involving them in the process as much as possible makes you seem like a helpful partner instead of someone who wants to up-end their life. Because there may be some resistance, you may need to have multiple conversations with them. Remember that these are huge changes to their lives, and they may not necessarily be open to them.
Although many of us do not want to think about it, our parents are getting older and a time will come when we will have to take care of them and make the best decisions for them. It is important to be ready for when the time comes because there will be difficult conversations to be had and changes to be made.