As your parents age, they may need more help with basic day-to-day tasks in order to continue leading the lifestyle they want (even if they may not want to admit). Being able to help them begins with open, honest communication that creates the space needed for tougher conversations. As their child, they need to know that you do not judge them for any of the difficulties they may face and that you are there to help them. However, they may not know exactly what they need or want as they move forward.
If you want to help your aging parents, but neither of you knows where to begin, here are five things you can do for them now to get started.
Helping Aging Parents
1.Work on improving their home and making it safer for them
Most people want to be able to stay in their homes as they age. The problem? Not all homes are necessarily safe for your parents to live in as they grow older. Some areas of the home that may have been safe to navigate when they were younger may pose a potential safety risk, such as slippery surfaces and areas where it is possible for them to lose their balance. Additionally, homes must change in order to accommodate any possible health changes, such as if your parent must use a wheelchair to navigate their home. Making sure to tackle target areas like the bathroom and the kitchen and work on making their home more accessible to them is one great way to help them enjoy their golden years.
In the meantime, they can also benefit from other minor home repairs that need to be taken care of. For example, if their house becomes unbearably hot during the summer, pitching in by helping them get an AC replacement is something that they will really appreciate. If you’re considering getting them a new A/C, make sure to reach out to a reputable company that can replace older systems with high-quality products designed to give your parents the best experience possible.
2. Help them create a financial plan for the future
While there are some older individuals who work, others may be on fixed incomes, which can cause further stress if they find themselves faced with serious health problems. Sitting down with them to talk about their current budget, their savings, their investments, and their debts is vital to prevent them from getting behind on their bills. If they are faced with severe health issues like a terminal illness and find that they are having trouble dealing with their finances, you may also want to draw their attention to resources like the American Life Fund. The American Life Fund offers viatical settlements to those who are terminally ill. Put simply, they will purchase unneeded life insurance plans from those who are faced with late-stage cancer so that those individuals can access the funds needed to pay for necessary expenses. Having these kinds of potential options can help you parent cope with any financial stress they may encounter in the future.
3. Encourage them to pay closer attention to their mental health and well-being
As we age, it can become harder to engage in the same type of activities we previously enjoyed. Additionally, finding friends with whom we share things in common can be equally challenging. While your parents may not think about it as being important, make sure that you encourage them to look for more opportunities to socialize and find ways that they can be more active. Helping them take care of their emotional and physical health now will help them build habits that will allow them to better support themselves in the future.
4. Spend more time with them (and have other family members join in on the support)
For most parents, seeing their child can bring a smile to their face, especially if they do not have that many opportunities to socialize with others. Make it a priority to check in on them regularly to ensure their physical safety and to provide them with company and emotional support. While you’re at it, now is also the time to encourage your family to do the same. This way, they will always be able to look forward to seeing their loved ones on a regular basis.
5. Seek out resources that can help you care for your parents
If your parents’ health is on the decline, trying to care for them can be a full-time job. Unfortunately, not everyone is financially, emotionally, or physically prepared for this type of challenge. If you know that a parent will require more care and help as they age, look for healthcare resources like in-home care or assisted living facilities that can properly support them. Although this can be a difficult topic to discuss with your parents, it is a conversation that needs to be had that will provide everyone with the best outcome possible.
Learning how to help your parents as they age will provide them with the support they need to move forward more successfully. If you are looking for ways to get started, use the five tips provided above to gain more insight into where they may need the most support.