Many of us are lucky to grow up with parents who devote the majority of their time, energy and effort to us. As a child, it’s common to be reliant on your mom and dad, but what happens when the shoe is on the other foot? As we grow older and move into adulthood, we take on the mantle of looking after our parents. If your parents are in poor health, or the signs of aging are starting to become increasingly visible, and you’re wondering how best to look after them, hopefully, you’ll find this guide useful.
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Assessing the level of need
Everyone ages at a different rate and some people reach the age of 70 or 80 in much better shape than others. When you’re thinking about your own parents, assess their level of need before you make any decisions that may impact their future, as well as your own. If you have a parent with an underlying illness, they may benefit from visits from a professional caregiver, but this might not be necessary if they’re fit as a fiddle, but they’re struggling to get out and about. Some people live independently well into old age, while others need assistance a lot earlier in life. Work out what level of intervention would benefit your parents. This will enable you to figure out the next step.
Create a support network
Caring for others, whether it entails intensive support or simply offering a helping hand from time to time, can be difficult. For many of us, it’s tough to switch from being a child to a carer, and it can be very challenging to witness a parent’s health declining. If you do have a parent that needs a lot of help around the house or specialist medical care, don’t feel like you have to take on the responsibility of caring for them alone. Create a support network with close friends and family members, and take it in turns to help with chores, offer lifts or organize days out or social events. If you don’t have a large family, and you can’t cope on your own, it’s worth contacting care agencies to see how they could help. You can design a package that will suit your parents perfectly.
Being open and honest
If you’re in a position where you feel that your parents would benefit from a helping hand, be open and honest with them. Involve them in the decision-making process, ask them about their preferences, and discuss options like assistance at home or treatment in specialist facilities if they have complex medical issues. If everybody has their say, you can come to an arrangement that gives you peace of mind and ensures your parents have access to the care, companionship, and support they need.
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As children, we’re heavily reliant on our parents. As we age, the balance shifts, and many of us take on the role of looking after them as they get older. If your parents are getting to a stage where they’re struggling to maintain total independence at home, or they have health issues, it’s wise to talk about options and try and come to a decision together.