How to Be There For Your Elderly Parents
As our parents reach their senior years, they will begin to experience physical and cognitive health decline. This doesn't always mean they need to be relocated to an assisted living facility. In fact, you can help them stay healthier for longer by making it easier for them to age in place in their own homes. Here are a few tips for making this process easier.
Be Willing to Listen
When you visit your parents, be sure to take the time to listen to what they're saying. While it may seem as though they're just telling you a pointless story, there's usually useful information intertwined in their tale. By listening to them, you can learn about their state of mind, experiences, and day to day needs. This can help you provide better care for them. More importantly, it gives them opportunities to socialize, which is an essential part of maintaining good cognitive health.
While your parents will need your emotional support, they will also need more practical help from you. As you observe their physical health deteriorating, talk to them about what they need to function better as they. Maybe they need lower shelves installed in their kitchen, or they might need their laundry room relocated from the basement to a room on the first floor. By helping them make these changes, you can ensure they will be safer in their own home.
Help Them With Technology
You can use technology to make a senior parent's life easier, but only if they feel comfortable using innovative devices. For example, you can set alarms on a smartphone to notify your parent when it's time to take their medication, but only if they feel comfortable setting and stopping the alarm. Otherwise, it can become an unbearable nuisance. Be sure they understand the basics of any smart technology you install in their home to ensure the devices really are making their lives easier.
While you will be responsible for your parents' care as they suffer from more severe health problems, you should also make an effort to help them stay involved. When it's necessary to make a change, such as giving up their driving privileges, have a plan that you can discuss with them. If they can participate in the decision-making process, they will feel more willing to act in their own best interests.
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