Caring for your elderly parents, are you doing it?

Dad and StephIt’s a fairly universal assumption that at some point we’re going to have to think about how to look after our parents when they get to an age when they’re less independent than they want to be. When that time comes, we have to consider the options against the time we have available to give them and the cost implications of an increase in service or utilities. Here are some of the ways we can make sure we’re all doing the best we can for our family and other elderly people we know.

Time

Giving your time to your elderly family is priceless when trying to make sure they get the best life possible. In the not-so-distant past, and in many other cultures, it’s expected that elderly men and women would live with their children or younger relatives when they are no longer capable of living independently. This is fantastic for keeping a family together, but it’s simply impossible for some young families to dedicate that much time if they are both working and have lots of commitments- consider that, when this was popular in the past, it was generally accepted that women would stay at home while men worked- alternatives must be used, even if they don’t necessarily want to use them.

Money

If the financial responsibility may fall on the younger members of the family and if that’s the case then private carers and expensive retirement homes may not be feasible. If this is an issue for you then check what kind of organizations are offering the retirement homes to give you a clue on what price and quality of services they will provide. Some charitable trusts offer residential ‘communities’ that focus on building an active and friendly environment for the elderly, and have the charitable status to back them up. These offer fairly reasonable prices and ensure that time and attention will be given where it’s needed, which is great if the problem is a lack of ability to spend time with the older family.

What sorts of things are available in retirement communities?

As these retirement villages are focused on activities and building communities, there is generally a lot to do in them. More conventional things like book clubs are obvious, but there are also more contemporary activities such as tai chi, and if people aren’t quite up to speed with IT skills like email and Microsoft Office programs, there are plenty of classes to help there too.

Make sure they’re happy about where they’re going

Everyone is aware of the negative connotations surrounding some of the more dingy retirement homes, so your elderly family will obviously be included in that. Retirement villages, especially when run by charities dispel those worries, by having an already bustling community that people can see and reference to, meaning that if you really can’t afford the time or money to have your family at home with you, they are by far the best options available.

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