How To Look After Your Aging Parents

Aging has a way to take a toll on a person’s mental and physical health. It hampers the normal functioning of the body and turns the person physically weak. Some of the common health effects aging parents experiences are – 

– Muscles and bones losing strength

– organs losing efficiency 

– vision turning weak

– body losing its strength

– The functioning of the brain starts deteriorating

This weakening state of the body leads to several changes in the overall functioning of the body. The sleep pattern of an aging person starts getting disrupted, their emotional well-being also starts experiencing disruption. Together all of these aspects lead to several difficulties for an aging person.

Using their deteriorating cognitive and physical skills, aging individuals might succeed in accomplishing one or two tasks of the day but they will always need the help of their kids to navigate through their daily lifestyle smoothly. Due to the aging in parents, they start experiencing instability in their social life, they start losing the sense of independence and struggle in managing things by themselves. Hence, they need their kid’s support and help. 

Grown-up kids in the house on the other hand need to look after their aging parents not just in terms of finances but also by offering their aging parents emotional assistance and coping with their aging parent’s behavior. Here are some tips and tricks on how can you look well after your aging parents – 

Make them part of the plans – 

While your aging parents are losing the sense of independence they tend to get intimidated by the fact of losing their independence. Thus to help them believe that they have control of their lives involve them actively while planning their aging parents. You can do this by – 

  • Help them see you as a partner and confidant rather than an external force who is introducing random changes in their life. 
  • Unless it is urgent, do not try forcing too many significant changes on them in a short period. Perfect would be to start with small changes, observe their response and proceed accordingly.
  • Don’t rush to offer them in every little aspect of their lifestyle. Allow them to first accept your help with one or two of their crucial needs.

Get to know first what it is that your parents need – 

Looking after your parent’s needs and care for them can be a challenging task. You first need to sit with them, have an insightful conversation with them, and make note of what it is they need help with. The key areas in which your parents can need help with are – 

  • Medical needs
  • Family support
  • Cognitive health
  • Personal hygiene 
  • Mobility
  • Meal Preparation
  • Home safety
  • Social Interaction

Observe and make note of areas in which they are already helping themselves well and the areas in which they need your help. Make a caregiving diary and write down every detail of your aging parents’ lifestyle. Also keep track of their vitals, health conditions, and medicines in this diary. Look after your aging parents emotionally too, have friendly conversations with them, sit with them, spend some quality time with them. 

Plan your finances – 

Looking after your aging parents can cost you a considerable amount of money. Hence it is always advised to plan your aging parent’s finances

Think of the various aspects of their lifestyle where they will need assistance and help. Medical care is one aspect that might cost a considerable amount of money as after a certain age, the human body starts weakening. Other aspects might include food costs, the cost of modifications to be introduced in the house to make it safe for them, living costs ( in case they are not living with you). 

Recommended would be to make note of your financial position first and then you will be able to figure out if you can meet all the finances of your parents or you will need financial help to meet their lifestyle costs. 

Invest into home safety basics – 

While planning the interiors of the house we don’t always look into the safety hazards. With time, these safety hazards keep adding up and many of them can turn out to be harmful to older members of the family. They can fall or trip easily and can end up hurting themselves. 

Hence it becomes important to get your house modified with home safety basics especially if you have aging parents at home. This will prevent them from falling and hurting themselves. 

Here are some simple modifications you can make in your house to make it friendly to your aging parents – 

  • The bathroom is one place in the house that is most dangerous for the older members of the family as the bathroom floor often is slippery due to soap and shampoo dripping on the floor. Hence you should add grab bars in the bathroom.
  • Tripping on the staircase can cause some serious injuries hence make sure you add railings throughout the stairs.
  • Make sure you modify the interiors in such a way that the house does not need the use of step-stools.
  • Update lights regularly so that your rooms are brightly lit and also make sure all switches are easily accessible. 
  • To look after aging parents and clutter issues of theirs, ensure the floors and walkways do not have cords or any rugs lying in between the way.
  • Also, ensure that all the appliances in your house are functioning well and are within the reach in case your parents need to use them when you are not at home. 

Make sure all modes of communication are easily accessible – 

Another key to keeping your parents safe and engaged is to ensure they can easily call you in case they need help and can call their friends and relatives. 

During this stage, your parents often need some company or somebody to talk about details of the day to cope with the isolation and loneliness that comes with age. Also if they are lonely and isolated, it will start showing its effect on their overall health too. 

Hence make sure the phones in the house are easily accessible and are easy to operate. One way to do that is to put a simple phone with a pre-programmed number in their clothes pocket.  Along with phones also keep pocket-size hand sanitizers in their pocket and remind them of sanitizing their hands frequently. Also to take care of your aging parents during covid invest in a good disinfectant fogger as they easily and efficiently saturate an entire room.