Some people refer to old age as the “winter” of one’s life. But that doesn’t mean our elderly parents’ lives have to be dark, cold and lonely. There’s so much we can do to keep the sparkle in their lives, but we must cover all the angles.
There are a number of problems that adult children might come across when trying to help their elderly parents. First and foremost, parents will always view their children as just that – children. It is very difficult for them to imagine a scenario where they become dependent on their offspring. This can make them defensive and difficult to deal with. Another issue is that elderly parents, for one reason or another, are not always fully open about medical, financial and other important issues. This can lead to great strain on the family later, when action needs to be taken but the children are unaware of vital details.
In their old age, parents might have increasing trouble with everything from medical and financial needs, through to everyday tasks like shopping, laundry, cooking and cleaning. And if children are in full-time work themselves, with families of their own, care for their parents might just be the final straw that breaks their backs. But there are ways children can help their parents without being impacted so much. First, one needs to know all the details of their parents’ habits, needs and lifestyle. Look for tell-tale signs that they are struggling; are they keeping enough food in? Are there household tasks being left undone? What medications are they taking? What are their effects? Details such as these will help in deciding the best course of action.
Nursing homes are often the first thing people jump to when care for their parents is needed. However, the fact is, many elderly people do not need nursing homes. Retirement villages are alternatives to nursing and care homes and give the elderly all the living assistance they need, while allowing them to maintain privacy and independence. They can improve their health with exercise, good diet and a generally more positive outlook. Such communities allow them to be surrounded by friends, have professional assistance on hand when they need it, and not feel like they are a burden on their children
For many parents, being looked after by their children is unnatural and undesirable. Communicate with your parents and you will understand how to both please and help them.