It is certainly an adjustment watching a parent age, and while it is a privilege, it may not always be seamless. As you switch into having more of a caregiving role, you may notice the responsibilities of parent and child reverse. This change can sometimes be a challenge for your parent as they may have concerns about the process. There are ways to aid your parent in this journey and help show them that there is little to fear. This is how to help your parent age with dignity.
One of the simplest ways to help your parent is by continuing any of the activities they usually do. If that means sitting on the porch with the morning newspaper or going to the grocery store three times a week, then so be it! Having a consistent routine is beneficial for seniors as it leaves nothing to chance, which helps them maintain normalcy and a sense of stability. If your senior does not have a consistent routine, now may be the time to implement one.
You can start by signing them up for biweekly or monthly hobbies. There are many activities for seniors to partake in, many of which have a social component proven to be very beneficial. If you wonder what might be best for your older adult given their activity levels, there are plenty of low-impact options for all levels of ability. Consider gardening with raised beds, bird watching, or crafting.
Maintaining healthy functional levels lowers the risks of age-related illnesses, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. Moreover, it also helps them feel better and improves sleep. Staying active releases endorphins that will help to keep your parent happy and healthy.
Assisted Living vs. Home Care
Perhaps you have noticed your parent has trouble with simple care or becomes lost easily. If that is the case, you may have considered enrolling your parent in assisted living or home care. Here’s what you should know about that. Including your parent in the conversation is the best thing you can do in situations like this. Start an open dialogue where everyone can voice their opinions.
There are many benefits to either assisted living or home care, and it is all about finding the best option for your parent. Once they have agreed to extra help, you can proactively discuss it. If you feel they would benefit more from consistent care, an assisted living facility may be a good option. Whether they need extra help with essential support, a hired caregiver who visits their home may be the best choice. Remind your parent that they have options.
The biggest reason seniors can have such a drawback to moving into assisted living or home care is that they might sense a loss of their autonomy. Suppose you were to go ahead and make such a life-altering decision like this without consulting your parent first. That can seriously trigger any fears they may already have over losing their sovereignty. It is best to show them that they still have power and control over their life. You can do this by including them in this crucial conversation. Make sure your parent knows you are truly hearing them and their concerns.
Mobile and Home Devices
Another way you can provide your parent with independence while keeping an eye on their safety is through medical alert systems. Nowadays, there is a wide range of medical alert devices for seniors, and it can feel overwhelming trying to find the best fit for your parent. There are two primary types of alert systems: mobile and home. The best part about these devices is the room for customization. Some appliances can call a friend or family member. Additionally, you can add extra safety measures to mobile and home devices like family check-in and automatic fall detection.
If you have a parent that actively goes out on their own, you might want to consider getting them a mobile alert device. You may wonder why their phone wouldn’t suffice for this, and there are many reasons why. Often, seniors struggle to adjust to newer technologies, and cell phones are not always readily accessible. In the event of an emergency, you want to ensure your parent can contact emergency services as quickly and efficiently as possible. Getting help is as simple as pressing a button with a mobile alert device.
There is also the home alert system; home systems connect directly to your landline and cover a wide range of places in the household and surrounding areas. If you have a parent living independently and want to ensure their protection all day long, a home alert device may be best for you. It’s typical to be hesitant about using these types of products, so be sure to remind your parent that their safety is your top priority. A medical alert device provides your parent with more freedom and you with more ease, as they can continue their everyday life with just a little bit of added protection.
As a child becoming a caregiver, this is one of the most incredible things you can do to help your parent age with dignity. It may be challenging to relate, but try to imagine yourself in their shoes to the best of your abilities. So much is changing around them, which can be fearful, but it doesn’t have to be.
As parent and child reverse roles, this is undoubtedly a time of adjustment for both parties. Your parent might start to see themselves as a burden or worry that you may view them differently than you once did. Be as transparent with them as possible that they are not a burden, and you will never see them differently. Remind your parent that you are caring for and aiding them because you love them, and not out of obligation, and while they used to watch over you, now it is your turn. Even if they have not voiced these worries, let them know there is no reason to have any concerns like these.
When you address any of these possible questions, you allow your parent to accept your help and put their mind at ease. You will show your parent that you won’t leave their aid no matter what might happen. Moreover, it lets them know you still respect them and see them as the super parent they’ll always be. When things seem up in the air, your parent can rest assured, as they trust you and feel confident they have you as a vital source of stability.