It can be difficult watching your parents get older, and you may find yourself looking after them more in the coming years. Although it is unlikely they will outright ask for help, you will probably notice them losing some of their independence as time goes on. Wanting to care for your parents in their old age is natural, and there are a few practical ways to help improve your elderly parent’s quality of life.
Begin a dialogue with your parents and always keep communication channels open. By establishing open communication with your loved ones, you will be able to catch any tell-tale signs that your parents need help or are worried about something. When making inquiries, always ask open questions to find out about their life. Although you want to be there for them, you don’t want to appear as though you are prying. You also don’t want to hurt their pride either. Some people are stubborn when it comes to accepting help. If this sounds like your parents, then the best thing you can do is to keep in touch with them often and allow them to come to you if they have any problems.
Social visits can truly brighten up someone’s day, especially if they have retired and their schedule is free most of the time. If this sounds like your parent’s situation, then increasing the number of times you visit can make your parents feel happier. Trips and falls are the leading cause of injury in senior citizens in the USA. Therefore, frequent visits will also give you insight into the condition of their physical wellbeing. If regular social visits aren’t possible, then make sure you take the time to chat with them over the phone. A simple phone call gives your parents the chance to share any worries they might have with you.
Regular visits and phone calls are all well and good; however, make sure you ask them about their wellbeing. If your parents aren’t the type to open up easily, it could be that they need to speak to someone more impartial. This could be existing friends or people they connect with while doing something they enjoy.
Help Them Stay Social
Did you know that loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day? People can feel more lonely as they age, especially if their close friends have already passed away. Although your parents may have always been your rock when you were growing up, no one is immune to loneliness and depression. Help your parents maintain a healthy mental wellbeing and encourage them to stay social. Connecting with old or new friends can improve their quality of life and can also reduce the risk of isolation.
A great way to reduce social isolation is by taking up a hobby. Help your parents stay social by researching local activities or clubs for them to participate in. Whether it’s an activity you know they enjoy doing already or taking up a completely new pastime, doing something that engages the mind can reduce depression. Not to mention, it can help them stay social too. Helping your parents find something they are passionate about and encouraging them to connect with like-minded people can provide them with a sense of purpose. It can also help to break up a monotonous week.
Discuss the Future
Conversations about the future can be awkward with parents; however, they are important conversations to have. This is especially true if your parents have given little thought to their future. If your parents are willing to have the conversation, then discuss the type of care they wish to have in the future and the different options that are available to them. Senior care services vary vastly. Belmont Village Senior Living includes independent living, assisted living, and memory care services. Your parents may not require any sort of senior living services at the moment, but helping them research various facilities and services will ensure they receive the level of care they want in the future.
Hazard-Proof Their Home
As your parents’ age, their cognitive and mobility skills may deteriorate. It can be difficult to identify the exact point when they need extra help because these issues tend to develop over a long period of time. Be proactive and hazard-proof their home using this Home Fall Prevention Checklist. Simply going through their home and making a few adjustments can help them stay safer and happier. Minor changes, such as swapping light bulbs and creating extra floor space, can make a world of difference to their day-to-day life.
Growing old happily means looking after yourself by eating a combination of healthy foods. Packaged food may seem like a quick option, especially if your parents don’t want to go through the bother of making a full meal. However, a lot of packaged food is processed and can contain a high salt content. Encourage your parents to swap these processed meals with wholesome, nutritious food. A nutrient-rich diet includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, protein, dairy, and fiber. Some types of food are known to help prevent certain diseases and illnesses. In fact, one study links green, leafy vegetables with a slower rate of age-related cognitive decline.
Physical activity can make a massive difference to your parent’s wellbeing. It can help your parents become more mobile and feel younger for longer. Being physically active improves an individual’s strength and balance, it can also reduce the risk of certain diseases, and it can help you sleep better too. Being active stimulates the brain and helps to reduce depression and stress. Encourage your parents to take up a healthier lifestyle by participating in sports. Adults should aim for at least 2.5 to 5 hours of exercise per week. This could include low-impact activities such as cycling, jogging, or yoga.
If your parents are unable to participate in these types of activities, then simple lifestyle changes can positively impact their health. This includes walking instead of taking the elevator and playing with the grandkids more often.