Great ways to care for elderly parents
It’s often a balancing act to keep loved ones safe and comfortable as they get older while still respecting their independence and dignity. To help you with this, here are some tips on caring for elderly parents.
Find mobility and adaptation aids
There is a big push on keeping people in their own homes – and living independently – for as long as possible. To support this, there are many products to help improve mobility and an older person’s ability to manage daily tasks themselves. This includes gadgets to make cooking and eating easier and equipment that enables them to navigate stairs, baths and trips outdoors. This may involve an honest and respectful chat to gather insight into what your parents struggle with most. Then, you can find realistic solutions that make them still feel in control of their daily lives.
Increase their sense of security
One of the hardest things to cope with as we age is a loss of confidence, particularly after a fall or some other setback. One great way to care for elderly parents is to make sure they have a personal alarm system and can use mobile phones confidently, as this means they can call for help if they need it. This will hopefully make them feel safe 24/7.
Go at their pace, and find fun stuff
For your benefit and theirs, it’s recommended you don’t get too bogged down in the practical aspects of elderly care. Make time to make more great memories with them! This could be outings and short breaks, or simply trying new hobbies and pastimes at their home. One of the most rewarding things to do with elderly parents is to journal their life and gather photographs and keepsakes. They will enjoy the trip down memory lane, and you’ll get a lasting legacy of their lived experience. You could help them improve their basic computer and smartphone skills too, so they can keep in touch with family and friends anywhere in the world.
Start to introduce future arrangements
Living for today, and making everyday matter, is great, but one of the best ways to support elderly parents is to start discussing their future care arrangements with them now. This ensures you know what their preferences are if their declining health makes it necessary for you to make these decisions. For example, would they prefer live-in care in Essex or to find a residential placement in the county? You could do some initial research which enables them to make an informed choice.
Look after yourself
Though you play an important role in helping your parents live well in their ‘autumn years’, no one expects you to have all the answers, or single-handedly juggle their care with your personal priorities. You must also practise self-care and take time out to relax and recharge. Familiarise yourself with the local and national help available for the elderly as well – and for carers. This includes services from the NHS, your area’s social care team and experienced charities such as Age Concern. You will be hoping that your parents ask for help when they need it – but that goes for you too!
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