Aging is an inevitable process of life. All of us will eventually age and grow older with a lifetime of memories to hold on to. For now, it may be your parents’ time to grow old and your time to give back the love and care they gave to you when you were a baby.
We may all love our mothers and fathers and have pledged to take care of them until they grow old, but there are sometimes unavoidable life circumstances that make this a challenge both for you and your parents.
Make your parents always feel your love and care for them. Here are 8 tips on how to care for your aging parents.
1. Arrange a family meeting for “The Talk.”
Whether you are an only child or you have brothers and sisters, there will come a time when you need to sit down and talk as a family on what would be the best options and ways to give care to your aging parents.
This particular step is important to gather every members’ opinion and thoughts on the ways to care for your parents. Having a “family talk” will allow everyone to be involved in the decisions and make them take their own part in caring for your parents. This will also avoid miscommunication among siblings on duties and responsibilities.
2. Think very carefully before quitting a job to help a parent.
You may reach a point when you believe that the best and only option is to quit your job and take care of your parents. This may help you feel more secure that the right care is given to them. However, you have to remember that your job is to help you and your parents, and it is also your preparation for your own future when you age.
When you can no longer care for parents at home, you can look at options on what would be more economical but also considering your parent’s comfort.
Look for senior homes with Alzheimer’s care for seniors if your parent has dementia or any form of Alzheimer’s disease. Consider assisted senior living facilities if your parent does not have dementia and only needs help with daily living.
3. Support your parents emotionally and care for yourself.
It is understandable to want to do everything to help your parents and give back the support they gave you as a child. Like any other relationship advice, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
For you to be able to care for and help your parents wholeheartedly, you should be emotionally and physically ready by taking care of yourself too. This means that through the busy chores and errands to help them, you should also look after yourself.
Do a temp check every once in a while to ensure that you are still emotionally and psychologically balanced.
4. Understand the costs of keeping your parent in their home.
One option you can look into is to keep your parents in their home. This may work if your parents are both still able and fit to perform daily housework from tending the lawn, doing the laundry and everything in between.
Remember that your parents might feel most comfortable in their own home and neighborhood where they are friends with other people.
This is why it is important to do “the talk” with your family. In keeping your parents in their home, you will need to come up with a friendly budget and talk with your family and parents how to manage these costs.
5. Find out your parents’ needs and wishes.
The reality here is that your parents are getting older every day, no matter how healthy and vigorous as they may seem.
Sit them down and talk to them. Find out what their needs and wishes are so you can work around your own plans to make these wishes possible if you can manage. For their needs, this is where the budgeting comes in. These may include medications and daily needs at home.
6. Explore free or low-cost public benefits.
The government has excellent benefits for seniors, especially for health and medication. Private doctors may be more costly, and your parents will get the same medical attention and benefits anyway.
Explore and research about low-cost public benefits which can help arrange your finances.
7. Decide on whether or not to be your parents’ caregiver.
If your parents need careful medical attention on a daily basis, you may need to seek help from a professional caregiver. You may be well-versed with their medication regime, but a trained professional should be the one to handle medical cases.
Unless you are a trained caregiver yourself, the best option you can work on is to supervise your parents’ care.
8. Make your own retirement plan.
Through all this, you should learn that it is important to prepare for your old age. Make your own retirement plan by arranging your insurances and finances while you are young. These investments may not make an impact now, but it is good to feel secure that you will be well taken care of when you grow old.
We owe a lot of our lives to our parents. For the first two decades of your life, your parents have given you the support you need to survive in the real world. It is time to give back the support to them and make them happy, comfortable and contended in the golden years.