Ever since you were born, your parents have been your caregivers, doing what they could to cater to all your needs. As you grew up, your parents also grew with you. Now that you’re an adult and standing on your own feet, building your future and possibly starting your own family, your parents may be entering their senior years. And, as they age, they may start to feel weaker and encounter health issues.
As these things happen, you may want to look after your aging parents the same way they did for you when you were young. To be able to do that effectively, you should do your research and look into resources that could help you fulfill your caregiving role better. For starters, you could check this website for tools or programs that could help, or you could connect with other people who’ve been taking care of their parents for a long while. In addition, you could provide for your parents’ needs and give financial support.
However, caring for your parents doesn’t necessarily have to start there. Even as you’re still thinking of how to go about it, there are things you can start doing immediately to improve the quality of their life. Here are five tips to help you achieve that.
- Keep Them Connected
It’s common for most seniors to feel lonely and isolated, especially if you recently moved them to senior home care or if they’re living on their own. If they continue to feel lonely and isolated, they may be at risk for dementia or depression. To prevent that, regardless of how far away they may be, you should make a regular effort to keep them connected with your kids, the rest of your family, and even the community.
For instance, if your parents are in senior home care or are living in a separate house from you, try to visit them when you have the chance and make sure that every visit is a pleasant experience. You can bring gifts or their favorite food, or better yet, take your kids along so they can spend time with their grandparents. It would also be ideal to involve them in family activities, whether it’s a regular day at the park or celebrations for special occasions.
- Watch Out For Symptoms Of Depression
Depression doesn’t discriminate against age, and some seniors may be prone to it. Several factors could trigger depression for older people, such as retirement, major changes in life, loss of a spouse, required medications, or certain diseases. To ensure that your aging parents are living well, you need to monitor them and keep an eye out for any symptoms of depression.
If you notice any warning signs, you should act immediately and make sure they get treated by professional healthcare providers. Additionally, if your parents are going through any of the triggering situations listed above or are having a difficult time in general, you shouldn’t let them handle their problems on their own. Be the support they need and let them know that you’re always there to offer help.
- Make Them Feel Needed
Everyone wants to feel useful and needed, but unfortunately, many people forget that when it comes to seniors. As you’re caring for your parents, you should remember that just because they’re old doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of doing things. If you act like they need assistance all the time or can’t do basic tasks, they may start to feel like a burden, which can trigger feelings of isolation and depression.
While they may need assistance with certain things, you should allow them to do other tasks that fall within their capabilities, such as the following:
- Folding the laundry
- Writing grocery lists
- Accompanying you for grocery shopping
- Getting and opening the mail
They may not be able to do some tasks perfectly, but that’s fine. The point is to allow them to contribute and to keep them from feeling like a burden.
- Motivate Them To Stay Physically Active
Exercise is important for everyone, but it’s even more so for senior adults. As they age, their physical strength deteriorates, which makes them less motivated to engage in any physical activity. However, if they refrain from being active, they put themselves at risk of serious health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes.
To motivate them to stay physically active, you should make the experience pleasant and positive for them. For instance, you can take daily walks together around your neighborhood. You can also bring them with you when shopping for groceries or running errands, as all the walking involved can also be a form of exercise. If you have a garden, you can let them do some digging and help with taking care of the plants, so long as they’re physically able.
These small exercises and physical activities can bring them a number of benefits, such as relieving depression, boosting their mood, strengthening their stamina, and improving the quality of their sleep.
- Stimulate Their Brain
Your parents’ mental capacities are just as crucial as their physical health. Regularly doing activities that stimulate the brain can help ensure that their cognitive functions remain in optimal condition. Here are some easy ways they can keep their mental capacities active:
- Solving crossword puzzles
- Coming up with stories to tell your kids
- Reading newspapers or their favorite books
- Writing on a journal
These activities will allow them to use their brain more and ‘exercise’ their cognitive functions.
Taking care of your aging parents may be a difficult task, but it’s a fulfilling one. Not only will you be able to ensure that they’re living well, but you might also get closer to them in the process. Though there are many things involved in caregiving, implementing the tips above can allow you to start immediately and help you improve the quality of your parents’ life.