Although not as strong and no beauty, it’s true,
I’m still here and want so much to live,
And I know that there’s no one in this world quite like me
And no one who has more to give.
Aging is a natural process, which is sadly perceived as an impending burden by many.
The fact remains that people who are in their sixth decade of life or further are the assets of the society. The above excerpt from Pat A. Flemming’s poem defines the fact that even if their capabilities have decreased, senior citizens still deserve a good quality of life.
We can adapt some fruitful ways to make the lives of our elderly parents much better.
If you are someone who is looking for ways to tend to your elderly parents, parents-in-law, or even grandparents, you are in the right place. Below, we have categorized the needs of the aged and suggest ways to cater to them in meaningful ways.
ARRANGE A SUITABLE LIVING SPACE FOR THEM
Elderly parents, living with you, is the best possible scenario as it cuts down many risks and lets them spend their time with their loved ones. You or any other family member is always there whenever they need help, and it is also much easier to keep track of their issues. Taking care of elderly parents at home is also very beneficial for their mental health.
Some older people can’t be left alone and unattended. Still, most of them prefer their own place to live peacefully. Therefore, if your parents live in their own home, you will have to make proper arrangements for their safety.
If your work and other commitments do not allow you to visit them daily, you will have to make alternate arrangements. A good way is to divide the responsibility with other siblings so that all of you can dedicate slots for the week.
If you don’t have the siblings’ option, you can alternatively opt for home aides or assisted living.
One more thing to pay attention to is making the surroundings safe and suitable as old age makes one quite vulnerable.
Preventive measures include installing grab bars in toilets, passageways, and stairs, hiding away cables and wires to avoid tripping over and using night bulbs for nighttime safety. Install CCTV for added vigilance if your parents give consent for it.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY OF THEIR FINANCIAL NEEDS:
It is a reality that for many older adults, income reduces significantly after retirement. All sorts of needs come up persistently and have to be met even if through borrowed money.
How sad it is that children of such senior citizens pay no heed to the fact that debt is burdening them even more?
Taking responsibility for the financial needs of your parents should be your utmost priority.
By providing for their daily expenses, bills, and medical expenditure, you are only returning a part of what they did for you when you were young. Think of it as a role reversal, and an example for your children to follow.
“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.”
~ Tia Walker
TEND CAUTIOUSLY TO THEIR PERSONAL NEEDS
Health care, hygiene, organizing the space of your parents, driving them to places, and keeping an eye on other needs all come under the umbrella of personal needs.
As they age, the elderly are prone to illnesses. A study conducted in March 2018 concluded that one in four U.S adults have two or more chronic conditions.
They become physically feeble and require support and from us. There are numerous health issues commonly associated with old age like weak eyesight, memory issues, sleepiness, and difficulty to walk.
As the caregiver, you can schedule regular health checks for them and ensuring that they are taking the correct, unexpired medicine at the right time.
If you ever need to bathe them or tend to other private needs, make it a bit less embarrassing for them by changing the subject while you do the task.
You may have to take charge of driving your parents to the doctor’s appointment and other places where they need to go.
Additionally, watch for whether they have enough grocery and cooked meals, and that their phones, doorbells, and other electronic devices are working correctly.
Organize their financial and medical documents regularly. Make sure their house is clean and clutter-free
TAKE MEASURES TO MAINTAIN THEIR MENTAL HEALTH
The importance of staying committed to the emotional needs of old parents cannot be stressed enough.
Loss of a spouse, illness, boredom, and isolation badly affect their minds. Having a fulfilled soul puts a significant, positive impact on their failing mental health.
Communicating one on one is something which aging parents long for. Talk to them, and even more so, listen to them without being judgmental.
They have countless memories that they love to share. Their advice is valuable, as it comes from first-hand experiences. Most of them have a precious reserve of jokes, tips, and recipes, which certainly can be useful for you.
Your parents have a right to cherish their grandchildren, so let them spend time with them. Taking them to senior centers, fitness and health programs, and even to their relatives and friends helps them stay socially active.
Frequently meeting and talking to people from their generation is like a medicine for their mental health.
If their health allows, you can also arrange some relaxing adventure for them. You will notice such a trip will have a highly positive impact on your parents’ physical and mental health.
Wrapping up, we will advise you not to neglect yourself in the process. There are two truths, which, if kept in mind, will keep us motivated while watching over them.
One is that they won’t be here with us forever. The other is that someday, we too will be where they are and wish to be treated well.