I have recently babysat my friend’s toddlers because she had to tend to her mother who suffered a domestic accident. Unfortunately, she was severely hurt. After dealing with the aftermath of this event, my friend realized that her mother is unable to properly take care of herself and that she also has great difficulty in accepting her condition.
While my friend got caught up with growing her two kids, she overlooked the needs of her mom, a widow with a deteriorating health who was living alone in a home way too big for herself. She also wasn’t aware of her mother’s financial status, savings account, or insurance policies. She finally appealed to home nursing services so her mother can continue living in her beloved house, but there are still many other things for her to figure out.
How Much Do You Actually Know About Your Parents and Grandparents?
Especially those of us who had caring and loving parents tend to idealize their persona. We often forget that the passing of years leaves marks and that our once responsible and proactive parents are growing a bit more tired every year. It is our duty as their children to step in and to guide them if they lose track of the basics.
So besides sharing gifts and beautiful moments this holiday season, maybe it’s the time we had that talk about plans, finances, and emergency solutions with our elderly, though some independent types will find it hard to admit the shortcomings of old age and accept help. This Forbes article offers some conversation strategies for dealing with them. Most of the stubbornness usually comes from fear and it is only normal to feel uneasy about considering the possibilities of deteriorating health or bankruptcy.
You should ask for your parents’ permission to access information about their health status and healthcare plan. Moreover, try to convince them to have a health assessment and address any issues early on. Though it might feel intrusive for them, you should also know if they have any savings. Further on, run regular check-ups on their home because their attention might be less sharp than it used to be.
Do My Parents Need to Relocate?
Another sensitive subject for our elderly is downsizing. They often feel like their children want to throw them away from their home, but their living spaces become too costly and sometimes even unsafe.
Talk to them about options and come up with examples in order to demonstrate that bad housekeeping can lead to dangerous situations and domestic accidents. A small cozy apartment in a quiet neighborhood, close to parks and shopping centers, will help them have an easy, comfortable life.
But if your parents are suffering from any ailments that affect their mobility or their capacity to remember things, it might be better for them to move in with you. Even if you hire professional help, you can always keep an eye on them and supervise the evolution of their condition.
If your parents are still healthy and independent, talk to them about these future possibilities or relocating, receiving day-care services at home or even moving to an assisted living facility.
Less Attached to Objects, More Attached to People
The hardest part of caring for our elderly siblings is dealing with their negative feelings of sadness, fear, and frustration. And these negative emotions determine them to live in seclusion, refuse any change, and avoid asking for your help. Some people succeed in finding their balance and happiness later in life, but others don’t manage to come to terms with the process of aging.
We can try to understand where their feeling come from: they lost friends and siblings, their children are having their own busy lives. People lose their flexibility and open-mindedness as they age because their social circle narrows, so they grow more attached to their homes and belongings. However, if you want parents that are not scared of change, encourage them to be active and socialize more.
A senior fitness program, community volunteering, a senior traveling club, art and hobby classes are all great options for your parent or grandparent. If your older sibling is not able to go out anymore, you can hire company. We are social animals and spending meaningful time with other people contributes to our good health and happiness.