Time does not stand still for anyone; it moves forward with or without you. Ageing is a natural process, it is an inevitable part of living. Some age gracefully while some others take time to adjust to the physical and emotional transformation associated with old age. Ageing often comes with many challenges, which include ailments such as arthritis, heart issues, diabetes, blood pressure, memory issues, etc. which may require older individuals to take multiple medications and seek the care of their family or external caregivers. Sometimes, older individuals tend to develop disabilities or get bedridden, which further worsens their situation. By the time parents age and need support, their children are typically fully engaged in their personal and professional lives and may find parent care challenging. Things get more difficult when the ageing parent is single, ailing or living alone, away from the children. But the simple truth is that in most cases, older individuals only need a little personal attention and care from their children to add some merriment and colour to their daily lives. Here are a few simple things you can do to ensure their continued happiness:
Talk to them everyday
Parents expect and appreciate their children spending time with them on a regular basis, if not every day. Find some time every day to talk to your parents. Call them up and check on their health and daily affairs. It will make them feel cared for and loved; and most likely solve most of their problems.
Visit them often
Personal attention is an important aspect of senior care. Children should consider it their responsibility to visit their parents often and spend quality time with them. Talk to them about pleasant things such as old memories, happy vacations and the like which will divert their mind from the daily routine and the thoughts of being away from you. They will surely miss you and visiting them often will keep them happy and help you develop a better relationship with your parents.
Take them out often
If your parents can travel, you can plan outings and vacations with them. Take them out to visit old friends and relatives, for social gatherings/events and even out shopping. Going out will be a refreshing experience and they will feel more secure and confident with their children around.
Assist them with estate and financial planning
As the parents age, they may want to prepare a will and sort out their finances while they can still sign and move around. Take the initiative to talk to them about these things and help them with such matters. They will be calmer and more content knowing that their affairs are in order.
Provide ample financial and emotional support
If your parents need financial support, take the initiative to deposit a fixed amount of money in their name so that they can take care of their expenses without asking for your help. Understand their needs and wants and try to fulfil their wishes to the best of your abilities. More than anything, your emotional support will be key to their overall wellbeing.
Check their health and medications regularly
As your parents age, they may need regular medications for managing their medical conditions. Most of the time, older individuals take several doses of multiple medicines each day. It is your responsibility to ensure that they consult their doctor and take their medications as per their prescriptions. Non-adherence can make their conditions worse and it would be prudent to get them a good pill reminder and medication tracker that can help them adhere to their prescribed medication regimen and continue to remain healthy.
Hire a reliable caregiver
If your aged parent(s) need to depend upon someone for their activities of daily living or need emotional support, you can even consider hiring a reliable caregiver to stay with them part-time or full-time. Hire one from a reliable service provider and follow-up on the service that they provide to your parents.
Get them familiar with modern technology
Modern technology can be a lifesaver and offer some relief from the boredom experienced by aging parents. There are user-friendly mobiles, tabs and touch-sensitive devices made exclusively for the use of elderly individuals that come with voice-enabled functions, which can be easily mastered. Teach them how to use such gadgets so that they can keep in touch with you and up-to-date on topics that are of interest to them. They not only aid faster communication, but also keep them busy and entertained with games, social media, online movies, etc. They will stay more engaged and feel better equipped to handle any challenges that come their way.
Remember, taking care of ageing parents is just like taking care of young children. Both need personal attention, care and love.