Did you know that in some states, it is a legal requirement to financially support your aging parents if they are not able to take care of themselves? This might differ in other parts of the world, for instance in the UK it isn’t the case. While some of us may not be pleased with that idea of taking care of our elderly parents and dealing with them, it is the way we have designed life. Despite the way how you may feel to take care of them, there is an unspoken moral obligation to make sure your aging parents are safe, secure, and have at least the basics covered.
Why is it important to take care of your parents?
Taking care of your elderly parents is a form of expressing your love. It is a way to give back. Nevertheless, there are many other forms to show love. You must deal with your elderly parents with care respect because they deserve it for everything they did to raise you.
For every sacrifice they made, for all the days and nights they worried for your well-being, for all the efforts they made to give you a comfortable life, and most of all for always looking out for you and for being the strongest wall you could lean on when everyone else had turned their back on you.
Need more reasons why you must take care of your parents? There are many reasons for taking care of your aging parents in their old age when they need you.
Let’s start with the most important ones.
In this article, we will help you understand how to deal with elderly parents, the issues to address when taking care of your aging parents, and other FAQs. Stay tuned until the end to learn all the things related to elderly social care.
Reasons Why Taking Care Of Your Parents Is Important?
1. Take Care of Our Parents, Our First Teachers
Parents are our first and biggest teachers, they teach us everything from how to walk to how to love, from how to admit to how to forgive, they are the most unacknowledged yet most dependable mentors we have.
Their infinite sacrifices make us what we are and teach us quite a few life lessons. As your parents grow older, they unlearn all the things that they have learned.
It is indeed important to take care of your parents especially in their old ages when they need physical and mental help.
2. Take Care of Your Parents For Daddy Is The Best
“Dad – A daughter’s first love and a son’s first hero.” is a famous quote.
What more could be an apt definition of a dad!
During my early years if anyone would ask me who’s the smartest person I knew, I’d say my Daddy hands down, well that hasn’t changed up till now.
Our parents deserve our care because they have spent years providing us and give knowledge and wisdom. They have faced many turbulent storms of life, which have taught them more than we can imagine.
We have a great opportunity to learn from their experience of life. And having second thoughts while taking care of your elderly parents is not the ideal case.
3. Take Care of Your Parents For Mom’s Unconditional Love
Did you know that women provide the majority of care to parents, in-laws, spouses relatives, and neighbors? Studies show that 66% of caregivers are female.
Furthermore, a study by MetLife found that 20%of working & 23% of non-working women provide financial assistance to parents that they are taking care of.
Dealing with your elderly parents, especially your mom could be a rollercoaster ride.
No matter what you achieve or don’t achieve in life her love for you is always the same. Additionally, you may tend to take her for granted every so often.
However, she deserves your utmost love and care because her unconditional love cannot be found anywhere else in this universe.
Single mothers especially sacrifice a lot to invest in their kids. To repay her love, the least you could do is take care of your aging mother and make her feel good.
4. Take Care of Your Parents For Family Values
Your family values motivate you to take care of your parents.
For most of us there might have been times when it felt that our parents are being difficult, they always inspire us to take the path of honesty and righteousness, which may feel unfair at that time.
But, once you reach a certain point in your life your vision becomes clear and you can see things from their point of view.
I respect my parents a lot for inculcating strong morals, values, and beliefs in me.
We must respect our parents because every decision we ever make in our lives is going to be inspired by those same values, morals, and beliefs, in this way they have shaped our future for us.
5. We Reap What We Sow
Knowingly or unknowingly everything we do is setting an example for our kids too.
An expression of respect and gratitude towards our parents is a great example to set for the future generation.
When they see us taking care of our elderly parents, they will be motivated to care for us in the future. Won’t this make the world a beautiful place!
How To Deal With Elderly Parents & Help Them?
Most elderly parents don’t need much help from others. They are quite happy to assist others and contributing to their families, communities, and workplaces.
As they progress further in their old age, many aging parents will eventually need help from others, especially as they progress to their 80s, 90s, or beyond.
The people who step in to help are mainly family members like spouses, adult children, nieces, nephews, etc. (assuming the person has family).
The kind of help varies depending on the advanced age of the older person. For instance, the support could be providing a little service with transportation or assistance with shopping or household chores. However, it could be 24 hours around the clock help for all their needs in other cases.
Type Of Care Options For Elderly Parents
1. Geriatric Care Managers
Depending on your preferences, they can manage all aspects of caring for your parent 24 hours every single day. They are experienced and could save you time, money, and headaches down the road.
2. In-home Caregiving Help
They take care of seniors in their homes. You can hire privately or go through a home care agency.
3. Assisted Living Communities
These living communities are the best option if your old parents cannot live independently or need 24/7 care. You might decide to choose assisted living and other senior housing options.
4. Geriatricians (geriatric doctors)
They are a suitable option if your aging parent has:
- Chronic health conditions, or
- Other conditions that primarily affect older adults
Issues To Address When Trying To Help Elderly Parents At Home
We agree, dealing with elderly parents is quite a task and can be overwhelming if you live in different cities. That’s why we have assembled the most common issues that tend to come up when helping older parents.
1. Daily Activities
1 in 9 older adults aged 75 or more need assistance in daily activities.
They will need help in several daily activities, like managing transportation, shopping, finances, meal preparations, and home maintenance.
The family should ensure they make a suitable arrangement to help the aging parents feel comfortable and at home.
2. Safety Issues
The family should ensure and address safety issues like:
- driving concerns
- financial vulnerability
- safety of the house, etc.
3. Medical and Health Issues
According to a WHO study, mental health issues like depression account for 260 million people of all ages. Although depression is not a normal part of aging, it can occur due to major life changes.
As they grow older, aging parents tend to develop chronic conditions that require medications, monitoring, and ongoing further medical treatments.
Family members need to be aware of their elderly parents’ medical condition and be ready to make decisions due to a health emergency or mental decline.
4. Legal and Financial Issues
A national survey in Canada found that financial abuse is the most common abuse for the elderly living in the country.
And the National Center for Elder Abuse found that financial abuse accounted for about 12% of all types of elder abuse.
Due to advancement in age and technology, some elderly parents may lose the capacity to manage certain types of legal affairs or financial issues.
Family members should step in and help by planning by completing the necessary legal paperwork. It will make it much easier for a family to assist, if/when it becomes essential.
Plan ahead for cases like emergencies, end of life care, etc.
It helps to reduce stress, hassles, and sometimes expenses.
5. Housing Issues
While helping your aging parents at home, it is trivial to consider housing issues. Ask questions like:
- Is the current home suitable for elderly parents?
- Or will it be better to move in with a family member?
- If the house is rented, how long is the house available?
Make sure the house your parents are living in offers a good quality of life.
On that note!
6. Quality Of Life
Family members are concerned about the quality of life of the elderly parents besides the basic needs.
It’s vital to consider what matters most to your elderly parent and what kinds of things they are willing to trade-off. Know their likes and dislikes so that you can navigate accordingly.
Sorting through decisions, whether about safety, medical, housing, or anything else — should always involve considering the elderly parent’s quality of life and what matters most to them.
What To Do When Your Parents Need help?
To deal with your elderly parents, you must figure out their needs, understanding the options, and make concrete decisions to help you feel more in control of the situation.
1. Assess Your Parent’s Needs
Try to figure out precisely what your elderly parents require to help them be comfortable at their old age.
Start by understanding how much help your parent needs with everyday life. For example, understand their priorities & social interactions, home safety, medical needs, mobility, meal preparations, personal hygiene, etc.
Are they getting any support? If so, how much help do they need to stay safe and healthy?
It’s vital to write down everything so you can keep track of their needs. It will help you to figure out what services are needed.
For example, you could set up a meal or grocery deliveries or even arrange and hire an in-house caregiver to prepare meals and ensure your parents take medication.
2. Include Your Elderly Parent In The Process
You must involve your parents in the planning process, so they don’t feel like they are losing the independence of their lives. Instead, they will look at you as a partner than someone who’s swooping in to make changes.
It’s advisable to gradually introduce the new changes in their lives, as long as they’re not in immediate danger.
Bear in mind, they’re likely to be resistant initially, so it will probably take multiple conversations.
The best approach is to start with less invasive techniques and increase the level of help as you go.
3. Understand The Financial Situation
It’s essential to know that taking care of your elderly parents and dealing with them will cost money. It’s best to estimate future costs so you’ll be prepared and have a budget.
Put down a budget for the cost of their potential living situation (like assisted living vs. moving in with you, the medical care they’re likely to need, etc.
When you have thoroughly analyzed the financial situation required, you can decide whether to get financial help or afford the care your elderly parents will need.
4. Take Care Of Home Safety Basics
It’s advisable to ensure the house is safe by fixing simple issues like updating lights.
You can also consider ideas like to make sure they live in a well-lit environment:
- Motion sensor lights
- Floor lamps
- Extra torch lights with new batteries
Some of the basic home safety essentials are:
- Ensure all rooms are bright
- Switches are easily accessible
- All floors and walkways are clear of clutter, cords
- Good placement of rugs for warmth
- All appliances work well and are within easy reach,
This checklist can help prevent falls from happening at your elderly parent’s home. It will go a long way to keeping your parent independent for as long as possible.
5. Make Communication Accessible & Simple
It’s good to encourage your aging parents to reach out for help from family members and friends.
It will help keep your parent safe and avoid isolation and loneliness by quickly calling for help to stay in touch with family and friends.
It’s best to ensure their phone is easy to use (use a simple mobile phone with pre-programmed numbers) that are easily accessible.
Or, you can decide to buy and make your parents carry a wearable medical alert device.
What To Do When Parents Don’t Want help?
Parents refusing their kids’ help is not uncommon. It’s advisable for both kids and parents to have had this conversation before your elderly parents need immediate assistance.
So, what to do when your parents won’t accept your help?
Try these below strategies to help them reconsider.
1. Evaluate Your Parent’s Situation
Start by assessing your parent’s living conditions, activities, and mental health.
- Are they still able to operate independently?
- How heavily do they value self-sufficiency and their sense of purpose?
- How do they think of themselves?
When you assess your aging parent’s parent’s life is beneficial as it allows you to be direct and prioritize your concerns when initiating the conversation.
It will also help you to be able to align with what they value and what motivates their behavior.
2. Family Intervention and Experts
Enlist your family members’ help, like, your siblings, close relatives, or even their doctor, to talk to your parents.
You can also enlist the help of experts, like your parent’s physician, support coordinator, friends or neighbors, etc.
It might help your parents change their minds and accept help because they see how much they matter to the people around them who care about their excellent welfare.
3. Start Small
It’s advisable to start small.
Convince your parents to provide in-home help like two days a week in the beginning or start by helping them by grocery shopping or driving etc.
They should get used to the changes gradually, allowing your parents to adjust more easily. They might, in the long run, agree to the idea of getting help around the house.
4. Offer Options
It’s advisable to offer care options to your aging parents. It will make them feel they have the freedom of choice and that their input matters.
However, while you provide options to them, you’ll still want to ensure the areas where your loved one needs help the most and address them without fail.
5. Be Positive
When addressing your elderly parents, ensure to talk based on a place of positivity. For example, instead of pointing out what your parents can’t’ do, alternatively, focus on what’s important to them and their values.
When talking about caregivers, ensure to reiterate that they will be a source of companionship and not a source of cutting down their independence for your parents.
6. Department of Social Services
You will use this option as a last resort, especially when elderly parents refuse your help, and yet they are incapable of taking care of themselves.
Also, they are a danger to themselves and those around them. It’s advisable to be prepared for your parents to be upset with you.
Eventually, they will understand because you had their best interests and safety in mind and your heart.
Concluding thoughts, why you must take care of your parents!
I would just like to say, there are countless things our parents do for us and we will probably never be able to repay them for their favors. If only we respect them and get their blessings one day our kids will also respect us.
Remember the mere presence of our parents gives us strength during tough times; they give us hope and encourage us to keep calm and carry on.
What are your thoughts on taking care of aged parents? How do you deal with your elderly parents? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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