People are reaching advanced ages — life expectancy is on the rise. Unfortunately, our body and mind aren’t quite keeping up in the later years. We become brittle and require a helping hand.
There’s no turning the tides of time. But, there are ways we can help our parents age gracefully. They spent years raising us… isn’t it time we helped them, now that they’re older?
Here are some tips on how to help your aging loved ones:
Helping with Home Safety
Slips and falls are all too common with seniors. They are some of the biggest dangers of independent living. Worse, they’re just one of many potential home dangers. Other potential problems range from cuts and scratches to fire and water damage.
How can you help your parents around the home?
• Buy and install home automation products like robotic vacuums or intelligent heating/cooling systems.
• Clear paths and cover potential tripping hazards with cord covers.
• Add night lights and motion-activated lighting to light the way if they tend to roam the house at night.
• Install ramps or easier steps at the entrance of the home.
It sounds condescending but trust us: baby-proof the home. Do a sweep of the residence and identify problematic areas. And, have your parents explain their troubles or concerns. Find the right products to make their lives easier, and you won’t need to worry as much about their safety.
Helping with Personal Grooming
Years of activity mixed with age will leave many seniors fragile. A parent having undergone multiple hip replacements would have limited mobility. Or, they could have difficulty holding items if tremors take hold. This makes it extremely difficult to do personal grooming which, in turn, could affect their happiness.
What can you do to help?
• Renovate the bathroom for extra space.
• Install brighter lighting for better visibility.
• Include raised toilet seats or shower stools.
• Install handheld showerheads and non-slip mats.
Adding these items improves their safety in these slippery areas. And, it provides them keep their dignity since they’re able to keep up appearances.
Helping with Socialization
Your parents may not have the energy to attend events or meet up for an extended period of time. They may feel unsafe traveling too far from their home because of uncertain conditions. This doesn’t mean they’re separating themselves from society — they, too, want to socialize.
The rapid pace of technological advancement has kept many older parents in the dark. Help them socialize by getting them up to speed with how people interact online.
• Get them an easy-to-use tablet or large phone for interactivity.
• Teach them about Web-usage and where to find neat things.
• Encourage them to explore dating sites if single or meetup sites if together.
• Show them great resources for their favorite hobbies.
Don’t take your understanding of tech and the Web for granted. Sit down and help them understand these items and platforms. Try to do so patiently. This will give them the ability to socialize and keep an eye on their activities such as doing regular video chats or following their updates.
Their interactivity through tech will certainly improve their moods. And, it can help them retain cognitive functions since computer use can improve memory.
It’s difficult caring for an aging parent when you have a family of your own. Your time is spent developing your career and helping your family flourish. It’s not that you don’t want to help your parents, you’re just short on time and resources.
Begin preparations as soon as you can–including the big topic of independent vs assisted living. Knowing their abilities and goals — and how you can help — will see their later lives active. This is a rewarding commitment for both you and the children.