It can be difficult to watch a parent age and begin to lose their independence. However, there are things you can do to help your aging parents live their best life possible.
Here are some tips on how to provide support and assistance as your parent enters their later years.
Have regular conversations about their health, both physical and mental
It is crucial to have regular conversations with your family members and loved ones about their physical and mental health. Regular check-ins can provide invaluable insights into changes in behavior, alerting us to dementia or other conditions.
Plus, talking about health can open up a dialogue on ways to protect and improve well-being, such as by incorporating healthier foods into one’s diet or finding more time for exercise. More than anything, it helps instill a sense of support so that our loved ones know they don’t have to go through their challenges alone.
Help them to stay active and engaged in activities they enjoy
With the change in routine due to COVID, many of us are feeling disconnected from our creative pursuits. That’s why it’s so important to help those around us stay active and engaged in activities they enjoy—whether it’s making music, cooking delicious new recipes, or writing their next short story.
For aging parents, retaining enthusiasm for these kinds of activities can be a real challenge which is why providing an encouraging word whenever we can make a huge difference. Plus, it may lead to unexpected results – a spark of inspiration to carry them – and you – through life’s more difficult moments!
Make sure they are eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise
It's essential for responsible sons or daughters to ensure their aging parents are eating a nutritious diet and getting physical activity. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats can foster strong brains and bodies while avoiding the risks of too much sugar or saturated fats.
In addition to meals, make sure your family gets 30 minutes of exercise per day – whether that comes as a structured activity or play time outside with friends. Providing older people with proper nutrition and fitness habits will set them up for lifelong health and wellness. So encourage them to get out there!
Assist them with transportation needs
Being able to travel safely is an essential part of everyday life. Unfortunately, many of the elderly lack the resources or support network to make it a reality.
Fortunately, you can be among the people who can help and make a meaningful difference in this small way. Driving your elderly parents somewhere or arranging for ride-sharing services is one way of providing needed assistance with transportation needs.
Whether it’s getting to work, school, medical appointments, or just taking care of their errands – when we help out those in need, we are allowing them to more easily go through in their own lives. Helping out with transportation problems might be small on its own, but it’s contributing to making a difference overall and having a positive impact on someone's ability to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Be available to lend an ear and provide emotional support
Listening to someone's story can be incredibly meaningful. When we share our experiences, frustrations, and concerns with each other, it reveals how connected we really are – to the triumphs, failings, and the human spirit in all its forms. That's why it's so important to stay open to those who need us, particularly our parents; lending an ear can help someone during a difficult time when emotional support is lacking.
Sure, there will always be times when we're unable to provide assistance directly, but just being there and offering some empathy can mean more than you'd realize. Next time someone looks like they could use a shoulder to lean on, consider taking the initiative and reaching out.
Keep an eye out for signs of abuse or exploitation, and report any concerns immediately
As a loved one of an elderly family member or friend, it's important to take measures to ensure their safety and well-being. Abuse or exploitation can occur anywhere, so it's essential for caregivers to be aware of the signs in order to identify and protect against these troubling behaviors.
Pay attention to subtle changes, such as isolation and disorientation, and look out for indicators that their environment may be unsafe. If you suspect something might not be right, don't hesitate—speak up and report your concerns right away. When it comes to safeguarding those we care about, inaction is simply not an option.
Caring for an aging parent can be difficult, but there are ways to make it easier for both you and them. With the above tips and advice, you can ensure that your aging parents will live happy, productive, and meaningful lives in their golden years and beyond.