Your parents looked after you while you were too small to tie your shoes or cook your dinners, and there may come the point sometime soon where you must return the favor. It’s a reality that many people do not want to worry about until they need to worry about it, but old age can strike quickly, and you may find that your parents need your help sooner than you might expect.
And in most cases, no one is prepared for this. But, as someone who cares dearly for their parents, you will happily take on the responsibility. If you’ve never cared for someone before (except for perhaps a goldfish when you were eight years old), you might not know where to begin, though. So, how can you care for your parents in old age, and what are your options?
Keep Them Company
Loneliness and isolation can affect anybody, and loneliness is a significant issue facing seniors, especially if loved ones pass away or they move away from the people they spent their entire life around. The good news is that you don’t need a career qualification to keep your parents company, and just a few hours each week can often be enough to keep them engaged.
Of course, you have a busy life yourself, but if your parents live close, you can stop by after work to hear about their day and chat for as long as you need to. Even if you don’t live close, you can still call them every day. Keeping your parents company can also prevent problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s, as it keeps their minds active and engaged in the world around them.
Hire An In-Home Carer
Not every child can be there for their parents. This isn’t because they don’t want to, but rather they just don’t have the time to dedicate. If you work all day, every day but also know that your parents need support, consider looking at an in-home caregiver.
These caregivers work a lot like those at a nursing home, but they provide your parents with a level of independence that will keep them comfortable and satisfied. They can help as much or as little as your parents need, and you can also combine this with your own visits. If you are not confident with specific aspects of care, they can take on the more complicated tasks while you stick to the personal side and keep your parents company.
Research The Best Care Homes
Sometimes, home caregivers are not enough, especially if your parents suffer from severe dementia or Alzheimer’s. In this instance, your only option is often a care home. Thankfully, there is a range of excellent care homes available that employ compassionate and experienced staff. But, you want to make sure you find the right care home for your parent’s needs.
Carrying out your research beforehand will help you understand what you must look for in a care home. You will be able to spot the signs of nursing home abuse, and also get an idea of the everyday routine. As a structure is so important for Alzheimer’s patients, this is crucial for ensuring your parents live a happy and fulfilling life in their later years.
Take The Responsibility On Yourself
Care homes and professional caregivers can be expensive though. For some families, this approach is simply not possible no matter how strictly you stick to your budget. But, if you want to do your part for your parents in their senior years, you can take the responsibility yourself, especially if their issues are not as severe right now.
Many people with elderly parents choose to become a caregiver, whether because they want to or because they believe it is best for their family. This approach will not just benefit your parents. It will also help you. A caregiving career can open up your options and provide something different and rewarding in life. It may end up being the best decision that you ever made, and you get the opportunity to help your family and others along the way.
Get Them Out of the House
Seniors are often confined to their living room, especially during winter, where it can be impossible to get anywhere because of the weather. Some seniors will also sell their car as they cannot drive as well as they used to, so getting around is even more challenging.
But, fresh air and interacting with other people is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing problems like loneliness and Alzheimer’s. Therefore, getting them out of the house is an easy way for you to care for them. This can start by sitting in the backyard, but you can also take them around the park or to visit their family. If they have friends in the area, stop by there to say hello. In many cases, your parents will just be happy to be out, so it often doesn’t matter what you do.
Everyone knows the benefits of exercise, but it is arguably even more important for seniors. However, due to mobility issues and aches or pains, they might not exercise as much as they used to.
If you want to encourage a healthy lifestyle, even in old age, you can take the opportunity to exercise together. This gives both of you an incentive to do something and can create a positive bond between you. It is unlikely that they will be able to match you lifting weights at the gym, but even smaller dumbbells and slower time on the treadmill could be enough to keep their body and mind active.
Forget Me Not
From mobility issues to memory loss, caring for your parents can come with an array of challenges. You might not think you can overcome these challenges now, but with the wealth of support available, you are not alone in this. Understanding your options will give you the confidence you need to care for your parents in the best way possible and help them live the rest of their life happy and comfortable.