Hey guys, lately I’ve been reading a lot about elderly parents. In particular, what role the former kids, now adults should take. I think this is quite a complicated issue. On the one hand, you want to make sure that your parents are safe in their old age. On the other, you have to let them have their independence. Then, you need to think about where they should live and when this becomes your choice, not theirs. You need to think about whether you want to help them move in with you. I know a lot of people prefer this option to permanent care. But is that the best thing for your parents are you. There’s a lot of choices to make here, and the right decision isn’t always clear. That’s why I’m going to try and break down my thoughts on this issue.
Helping Your Parents Keep Their Independence
For as long as it’s safe to, I think you should try to help your parents keep their independence. By safe, I mean that leaving them independent won’t mean they are putting themselves in danger. It can be difficult to know when they have reached this stage. Some people think when memory problems start to develop, it’s a warning sign. But memory issues can be helped by leaving reminders around the home. Labelling different areas of the home can help a parent who is in the early stages of dementia. It’s also possible to complete changes to the home that make it safer and easier to maintain.
Of course, there will be a point when all elderly parents need more help. This might be because they have an illness or they need assistance. At that point, you can choose to provide that assistance yourself, or make sure that they get care from someone else. I think it’s always going to be best to make sure they get care from a professional. Particularly, if they are dealing with a terminal illness. At that point, they are going to need more support than you’ll have time to give. Palliative care is certainly the best option in this type of situation.
Keeping Them Social
One of the biggest responsibilities for the child of that parent is to keep them sociable. Make sure that they engage in activities and interact in a social environment. This might mean that they attend a club or are part of a team. Or, it may just mean that you visit them regularly and spend time, taking them out. There are far too many people over the age of sixty who have been left cut off from society.
Don’t Let Them Be Ignored
It sounds awful to say, but it’s easy for elderly parents to be ignored or spoken about rather than to. That may be because they have hearing or speech problems, so it’s difficult to communicate with them easily. Or, it could be because finding points for conversation is a challenge. If your parent is being looked after by a carer, you should make sure you are speaking to them, rather than the professional. They need to know they are still important to you and part of your life.
It’s always difficult watching our parents get older. Sadly it’s a fact of life for, and we should do as much as we can to ensure they have a good quality of life in their twilight years.