Having parents who are now pensioners and beginning to get on in years is very different to when you’re starting out as an adult. Now the shoe is on the other foot as your capabilities in life continue to grow while their silver years tend to see an ongoing diminishing of their life management and coping skills.What do you do to help our parents as they age?
In this article, we address the sticky issue of how to help your parents as they get older.
Help your parents as they age
When you’re seeing a current or future need to get more involved in the day-to-day of your parents’ lives, then don’t expect to do that all at once. Trying to involve yourself in what was previously their decision alone reverses (or at least unbalances) the parent/child role. It requires humility and a period of adjustment for parents to acknowledge and accept help even from their own children.
Move slowly to let them get used to seeing you more and increasingly helping them out. It can start with small things like repairing a squeaking door when your father is no longer up to fixing it. Take his advice on how to proceed, so he still feels involved and in control. Similarly, identify other areas of difficulty for them and be specific about how you can be useful.
Health Must Be Managed
It’s not uncommon for seniors to try to ignore the pain of difficult or degenerative diseases. Sometimes, there’s genuine confusion over whether the discomfort is a normal part of the aging process or something separate to it. Other times, especially with a father, they try their best to ignore it and not address a serious health problem by seeing a doctor.
Sometimes, a specialist like an orthopedic doctor is required when dealing with joint, bone, nerve, muscle or other related concerns. While physical therapy can be helpful in some circumstances, it often requires the help of an orthopedic doctor to get a detailed examination when symptoms are persistent and, perhaps, chronic and painful. A clinic such as Yale Medicine are worth booking an appointment with, as they are a key provider of orthopedic care with its 1,400 doctors on staff. Also, it’s part of the prestigious Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut which ensures their team stay current with the latest medical developments too.
Help with Reading
Being able to read letters and documents that are received by parents is a helpful little extra to make their life easier. While their eye prescriptions need to be kept updated once a year or two, deteriorating eyesight still requires assistance to deal with reading small print.
Also, while some elderly loved ones are somewhat computer savvy, others are not. If they’re using a computer, then see if they’re accepting of you teaching them what you know to stay safe on the internet. Advise about safe practices to avoid phishing scams and other dangers – people sometimes target older people as they perceive them to be more vulnerable.
It’s important to understand that parents still want their independence and to not feel dependent on a son or daughter. This is why providing assistance needs to be done with care, patience and understanding rather than becoming a nagging burden. It takes some parents longer than others to come around to accepting help, so be patient.
What do you plan to do to help your parents as they age?