As the years go on you may find the role of caregiver between yourself and your parents reversing. You probably want to be there for your parents as they were for you when you were growing up. Here are five great ways to look after your parents as they get older.
Communication is Key
Did you know that loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day? According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, this is a serious issue for seniors. Living alone, without family or a partner, can take its toll on anyone, and so social visits can do a world of good. You can use these visits to check up on their physical wellbeing and make sure their living environment is up to standard. If you do not live close to your parents, then make sure you call them often to see how they are doing. Regular chats can break up a lonely day and perk up the spirit. If you are worried they may be feeling lonely, look for a local club for them to join or a hobby to take up. Socializing regularly and bonding over a common interest can give a person a sense of purpose in their life.
The leading causes of injury for senior citizens living in the US are trips and falls. As a person ages, their cognitive skills and mobility may not be what they once were. This means they are more at risk of missing a step and tripping over. Help your parents stay safe by checking their home for potential hazards. Small changes such as removing a rug or keeping items off the top shelf can keep your parents from harm.
Think About Finances
Money can be a difficult subject to broach, but it is best to talk about it plainly and openly while your parents are in the right frame of mind. Help your parents set aside the money they may need in the future. Consider legal aspects, such as writing a will and appointing power of attorney, and research the cost of healthcare they may need. Making important decisions can put your mind at ease and help your parents prepare for the future.
Plan for the Future
There may come a time where your parents may need a certain amount of care, which you are unable to give. Nursing homes offer 24-hour care for seniors who need extra attention due to medical, behavioral, cognitive, or functional issues. They are healthcare-focused and provide both short-term and long-term care. Although your parents may not be at this stage, and may not require this level of care in their lifetime, it is a good idea to research the facilities in your area and prepare for all outcomes.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Maintaining a good level of physical fitness can help ward off diseases and stimulate brain activity. Strengthening the body and improving balance can prevent falls from occurring; while maintaining a healthy weight can prevent the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Encourage your parents to be active for at least 2.5 hours per week, or 1.25 hours if their activity of choice is vigorous. Activities such as gardening, walking, and cycling are low impact and can be enjoyed by most people.