Seeing your parents getting older can be very difficult for many people. You may start to see them struggle in different ways, physically, mentally, or emotionally, and as their child this can be hard to deal with, no matter how old you might be! It is the reversal of the relationship between a parent and a child, where the child finds themselves becoming the carer of the person who has cared for them all of their life. Below are a few ways to help both yourself and your parents, that will give you the peace of mind that they can be happy and safe in their old age…
Check in Regularly – If you have noticed that your parent is struggling with certain everyday tasks, you will be worrying about how they are managing on their own. Make sure that you keep in touch with them and listen to any concerns that they have. Many older people do not like to admit that they are struggling, so you should approach this gently so as not to upset them – they are possibly very aware of their struggles and it may frighten or upset them. Just talking and listening to them regularly can be very helpful to both of you.
Make sure they have a strong support network – If they have an active social life, that is great. Help them to keep that up, maybe you could drive them to meet up with friends somewhere that they like, or maybe you could help them to get involved with a group that interests them, such as a keep fit class for the elderly, photography, or a local book club. If they are quite isolated, encourage them to do as much as they can. If they are living alone and you have the room granny annexes are a great way to keep their independence, but a watchful eye can be kept on them if they need anything, or are vulnerable to falls for example. Have a look at http://www.annexespaces.co.uk/ to find a granny annexe suitable for you.
Help with Household Chores – Many elderly people want to stay in their home for as long as possible, and this can be done with a little help. If they have help with some of the more difficult household chores that they may be struggling with it is possible that they can still enjoy living in their own home if they want to. It may be a good idea to make a few alterations to make life easier for them, such as an easier access bath or shower, and an emergency alarm that they can use if they need to. There are a lot of different devices and tools that are designed to make life easier for older people, so there will probably be a way that you can make a difficult task less difficult. If you are going to take on a caring role for your parent, have a look at this NHS guide to help you get started.