Taking care of an aging parent can be stressful at times. It takes time, a tremendous amount of energy, sacrifices, and a lot of financial resources as your parents begin to rely on you more and more for their daily needs.
But, taking care of your parents can also be a highly rewarding experience. You get to return all the kindness, love, and affection that your parents showed you throughout your life.
Read the five tips below to find out how you can provide your parents with the best care when they need it the most.
1. Try to Keep Them Active and Independent
Do everything you can to help your aging parents when they need assistance, but be sure to take a step back when they don’t need help.
Rather, introduce them to tools to help them remain somewhat independent – like home delivery services (for prescriptions and shopping), access to easy transportation (like Lyft and Uber for doctor’s appointments and social activities), and consider a mobile medical alert system for peace of mind.
2. Consider Assisted Living
If you have one aging parent, consider assisted living to combat their feelings of isolation and loneliness. Assisted living facilities can help with managing medication, meal preparation, personal care, mobility, and housekeeping if they are becoming difficult for your parent to keep up with on their own.
If your parents have health issues that need to be closely monitored, assisted living facilities can make sure that their safety and wellbeing aren’t at risk.
3. Give Yourself a Break
To avoid caregiver burnout, you must take some time out to meet your own needs, too.
Caregiver burnout can result in mental and physical fatigue, extreme anxiety, insomnia, and depression. To be a good caregiver, you need to take care of your own well-being. This could be spending some time with friends, taking walks or going to the gym, and taking a few vacations each year.
If taking time off is not a viable option, ask a family member to take some of the load. If this is not possible, you can look into palliative or hospice care – they will dispatch a professional caregiver to take care of your parents for short periods of time while you rest and recharge.
4. Include Them in Family Activities
Isolation and loneliness are two of the biggest threats to your parents’ wellbeing, so try to include them in daily family activities as much as you can.
It’s not just Christmas and other special occasions, though – if you attend sporting events for your children, take your parents along. If you have a family dinner once a week, try to include them.
5. Share the Responsibilities
Although nobody’s situation is the same, try to share the responsibility for your parents’ health and wellbeing. Contact family members to share the load, and have backups in case something doesn’t go as planned.
One way to do this is to split the caretaking duties across the week or take turns with family members to help with grocery shopping, family dinners, or doctor’s appointments.