The sad truth is that your parents are going to get older, and it’s only natural that after so many years of being cared for, you’ll happily have the honour of returning the favour when they need it most.
Watching your mom and dad struggle in their old age is something nobody wants to go through. But how can you make things a little easier on them? Here are some steps you can take.
Invest in a Medical Alert System
If you tend to worry about your parents’ safety living alone as they start to get older, devices like emergency medical dispatchers are a great solution you could invest in.
These gadgets will allow your parents to contact emergency medical services for immediate assistance with the simple press of a button on a wearable device. This means no matter the ‘what’ or ‘where’, they won’t be stranded with no help.
Upgrade Their Security System
If physical safety is a concern, then you might also want to consider an upgrade to the security system installed in their home.
Older adults might not be able to protect themselves against intruders, and could be considered especially vulnerable, so having serious security measures in place will help put everyone at ease and ensure they’re protected from harm.
Pay Attention to Their Health
As your parents start getting older, they’ll need to be more aware of their health than ever. Aging involves the natural onset of aches and pains, strained eyesight, digestive issues, etc. While this isn’t something anyone wants to have to think about, it’s the harsh reality we all have to face.
Make sure your parents are keeping up with regular check-ups and taking any medication prescribed to keep them going.
Automate What You Can
Some older adults are considered “allergic” to modern technology but helping them get on board will benefit them in the long run.
There are a few nifty smart home devices that can make aging in place far easier and more comfortable for seniors. Think automated temperature control in their homes, automated security systems, kitchen and cleaning appliances and even entertainment systems.
Make Sure They’re Eating Well
Dietary considerations are not just for the young and fit. In fact, they become even more important as you age.
Make sure your parents are eating a well-balanced diet and limiting their intake of processed foods in order to make room for important macro and micronutrients. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats are key. If you’re uncertain about your parents’ nutrient intake, talk to their doctor about which dietary supplements might be a good idea.
Keep Them Moving
The same rule applies to exercise. Getting older isn’t a free pass to spend all day on the sofa! Regular movement plays a key role in managing bone and muscle health, improving digestion, and generally keeping them feeling strong and healthy for as long as possible.
Light, basic exercise is enough. Daily walks and stretches are good for those who really struggle with mobility, but if your senior parents can handle more, encourage it.
Get Them Socialising
The importance of social well-being doesn’t suddenly dissipate when you hit retirement either. Mental health plays a huge role in overall health, and loneliness is a serious problem faced by many seniors.
If you notice your parents isolating themselves or simply pulling back from their regular engagements, encourage them to spend more time with others. You can get involved by inviting them over for dinners or hosting family get-togethers to help make sure they’re spending time with people.
Offer a Helping Hand
Your parents might begin to struggle with day-to-day tasks – basic things like gardening, cleaning their homes, fixing things, grocery shopping and cooking. If this is the case, they might feel a little embarrassed or frustrated by it too.
Make sure you know that you’re there to help them out with whatever they need. Consider picking a particular day of the week on which you help them out with chores and errands. Pick up some groceries for them, help them clean the bathroom and cook them a meal to put in the freezer for later.
Be A Shoulder to Cry On
Finally, try to be aware of the emotional impact of getting older too. As mentioned, all these changes can be embarrassing and frustrating for seniors, and they might need to vent or even just have a cry.
Be there for them to express their feelings to, and let them know you support and love them no matter what.