As your parents grow older, they might come to rely on their loved ones more when completing daily tasks or for mental stimulation. If your mom’s or dad’s health has declined in recent months, you might be unsure about how you can assist them each day.
If you want to provide support without imposing on their independence, read this mini guide to helping an aging parent.
Keep in Touch
Research has found that both loneliness and social isolation can increase a senior’s risk of both mental and physical conditions, such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Cognitive decline
- Alzheimer’s disease
Regardless of your busy schedule, you should take the time to connect with your aging parent who might be waiting for your call or visit. If you could forget about a call, set a reminder on your smartphone to ring them up, find out how they are, and ask about their day.
Ask How You Can Help
Your elderly parent might need help within the home, but they might be too afraid to ask. Help them to overcome this fear by asking if there is anything you can do to make their life much easier.
For example, they might need help with household chores, grocery shopping, or cooking. Reassure them that there is no shame in leaning on others for support and that you’re more than happy to complete various tasks on their behalf.
Discuss Their Future Needs
You should be aware of your parent’s wants and needs if their health takes a turn for the worst. For example, there are various senior living options to consider, such as:
- Assisted living
- Memory care
- Skilled nursing
- Independent living
Sit down with your mom or dad to identify how they would like to be cared for as they grow older. You can then search senior communities to match their needs. Talking to your parent about their future healthcare can also make them feel a part of the process, so they’ll be more willing to accept a new way of living when they require additional help.
Improve Home Safety
A slip or fall could negatively affect a senior’s health and independence. Help your parent to remain healthy and self-sufficient for as long as possible by improving their home safety.
Quick fixes you can make include:
- Adding grab bars in their bedroom, bathroom, and stair railings
- Clearing floors and walkways of clutter, unsecured rugs, and electrical cords
- Installing new light bulbs to illuminate every room
- Placing food staples onto accessible shelving
- Checking the safety of appliances and ensuring they’re easy to reach
Understand Their Healthcare Needs
As the years pass by, your mom or dad might need you to become more involved with their healthcare. If they are living with a health condition, attend medical appointments with them to improve your understanding of their illness, the treatment options, and the possible outcomes. You also might need to ask questions on their behalf, write down notes, and take control of their medications.