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Eight Things To Remember When Helping Your Aging Parents


1. Getting Older Is Financially Frightening

No matter how much money they might have, considering covering the expenses associated with aging or dealing with the unknown can be really scary. What if your parent doesn't have enough savings to pay for long term care? Talking to a qualified professional to make sure any possible expenses are covered can be really reassuring. You could start with the Citizens Advice Bureau to find out what your parent may be entitled to in terms of financial assistance. Whatever the circumstances, it's always better to face the situation head on and get everything that you need to in place.

2. Talking About Big Life Changes Is Extremely Difficult

You will probably need to start talking to your parent about some big decisions that they might find it difficult to face. Things like whether or not they need to downsize their home, or look for a care provider, the fact that they're losing the ability to drive. Having to plan for these things can be really overwhelming. Taking small steps with a goal in mind can be very helpful. Writing down every step you need to take and crossing them off as goals are met can make it easier to complete difficult tasks.

Image sourced from Flickr

3. Aging Parents Might not ask for the Help They Need

It's often hard for parents to ask for help or even admit to themselves that they need it. They've spent their lives caring for us and the role reversal can be difficult to adjust to. Just focus on paying attention to them, most needs can simply be observed. If they're struggling with certain tasks, is there something you can do to help them? Are there systems you could put in place to allow them to cope with daily tasks better on their own, thus still maintaining their independence?

Image sourced from Pexels

4. Aging Parents Memories Might not be What They Used to

You might be surprised to learn that memory can start to diminish from as young as 20! Luckily it's not usually noticeable until our later years. These are some great games and puzzles you can play with an aging parent to help keep their minds sharp:

• Dominoes

• Checkers

• Chess

• Card games

• Scrabble

• Bingo

• Jigsaw puzzles

• Crossword

• Word search

• Sudoku

• Crypto quotes

6. Patience Is Key

Transitioning into new phases of life is always hard. Please be patient with your parents. They were patient with you when you were learning to walk, talk, eat with your mouth closed and so much more. You needed them then and they need you now.

7. Staying Social

There are many situations that often come with aging that can be very isolating for a person. Times like losing a spouse, letting go of little freedoms one at a time or coping with changing finances can be so much harder to deal with if you feel alone. Being social helps aging parents deal with life's changes better. Talking with others of a similar age or in similar situations can be really helpful. Help your parents to maintain any existing friendships that they have. Also, most local communities offer social activities for older people. Have a look at local community centres, day care providers and church groups to find opportunities for your parents to develop friendships and other relationships.

Image sourced from Country Court Care

8. Caregivers need breaks

There are going to be times when caring for your aging parents that are extremely stressful and hard to cope with. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break to clear your head and refresh your energy. In fact, it's important that you do. A family caregiver can't possibly work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without feeling stressed. Even a qualified nurse can only work for 12 hours (at a push!) and then needs to go home, rest and unwind. If your parent is not safe alone, call on other family members to help, or if no one is available get some temporary care providers in place to give you some respite. You need to maintain your sense of self. Use your hard-earned time off to go to the library and read a book, hit a coffee shop and relax, meet some friends for a meal out, take a walk around the block, or even plan a weekend away to really refresh. You can't help your parent if you're all burned out.

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