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The hardest thing for an adult child is to watch their previously fit and healthy parents become elderly and infirm. It’s hard to watch them grow older and start to forget who you are or become unable to walk or move in the same way. However, figuring out their needs and understanding the options ahead? That’s not always easy, either. As their child, though, you may be keen to do what you can to help, and that’s what this article is about.
Allowing your parents to control their own fate is essential. They need to remain independent as they age, and you can help them to do that. With a realistic plan of action, you and your parents will be able to be confident that the ageing process isn’t going to be too strenuous for them.
The first thing to do is to assess your parent’s needs. What do they do day to day? Who do they see? You need to know that they have the right family support, are safe in their home, what their medical needs are and that their health and well being are cared for. What is their mobility like? Can they get around? Do they need mobility furniture? It’s also important to think about their basic needs, such as their hearing, eyesight, and everyday comforts. If they have been wearing lenses recently and have suffered progressive lens problems or just need to go back for an eye test or checkup, these things will help to make the transition easier. All of these answers need to be written down in a notebook so that you can adequately find solutions to each of the issues. You need to know that your parents are healthy and happy, and this is the way to start discovering that.
Next, it’s essential to think about your own needs. You may be their child, but you are in a particular place in life that may not allow you to spend buckets of time with your parents. You may have a job and a family of your own, and you can’t always assume that you are capable of taking care of all of their needs on your own. If you have siblings, they can help you. If you don’t, you can use the help of home nurses and agency carers to ensure that your parents are comfortable. You are still supporting them by making sure that others are in place to take care of them! It’s important to know that you are still a big part of their attention, even if you can’t physically be there day to day. If you’re ensuring that they have the right plan in place with the right furniture to keep them mobile, you should be proud of that.
When you are helping your parents with their support, make sure that you keep them involved. It’s their care you are considering here, and they need to be involved in all decisions made about them as long as they have capacity. You want them to know you’re there to support, not to take over. It makes a difference in their mental health, and it helps them to feel like you are there for them every step of the way.
Supporting elderly parents takes patience and time; make sure that you are getting support, too.