Caring For Senior Parents: How You Can Help

Supporting your elderly parents isn’t always easy or something you necessarily expect to do. In fact, Age UK states that around 60% of people would struggle to care for their elderly parents if they were ever put into this position. With many of these carers being unpaid (reports suggest there could be as many as 10 million unpaid carers in the UK right now), this is a lot of pressure on people who still have a family to care for or a job to do, too.

But if your parents are reaching an age where they need more support, what can you do to help them live as independently as possible for as long as possible?

Consider Alternative Living Arrangements

If your parents are struggling to manage their home, it might be a good idea to discuss a change in living accommodation. It could be that they need to downsize to a house that is more manageable for them to upkeep, a move to a ground floor flat or a bungalow could be a great idea if they’re struggling with steps or moving into senior communities could be a good option. You can find retirement housing where they can still live independently but have support on hand if they need it and a community of others they can connect with. It might be a good idea to look for nursing and care homes if they are experiencing a decline in their health and need more medical or day-to-day care than you can offer or if they can manage alone. But talking to them about their living arrangements could be a great way to help them go about their day easier.

Understand Their Needs

As we get older, it’s only natural to experience changes in health and mobility as well as changes in mental health and cognitive abilities. However, it’s important to remember that your parents are still people, too, and you need to understand their needs before you can help them fully. Instead of trying to take over and do what you think is best for them, listen to them and take the time to understand where they are struggling, what they want from their life, and how they feel you can help them.

Stay In Touch

It might seem obvious to point out, however, that it can be easy to forget that your parents will still want to be included in everything, even if they cannot do everything they did before. If you’re caring for them, it’s likely you will be in regular contact with them. But you need to make sure you’re including them with all family activities as you would normally do and not exclude them. Loneliness is often referred to as the silent killer, and isolating your parents or allowing them to isolate themselves due to changes in their health or lifestyle can do more damage than physical health conditions.

Adapt To Their Needs

There is no one set way to care for your parents as they get older, and what works for one family won’t work for another. Instead, you need to be able to adapt and make adaptations for them. Set a regular routine that they can rely on and that works well for your schedule; if you’re working, this could be alternating care with a service provider who can be there when you can’t.

It can be making changes to their home via adding mobility aids and internal cameras, using technology to help them with tasks like turning lights on and off, regulating temperature from heating, giving them easier communication options, etc.

Caring for your senior-aged parents isn’t always easy. It will take a bit of patience to get into a routine or find an option that works for you and your parents to help them out as they need it.

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