The population of retirees is projected to grow by 6.66 million in the next 20 years, as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. That means many of us will soon find ourselves caring for ageing parents, which can be challenging but also rewarding.
So as you strive to learn about effective parenting for teens, it’s also important to understand how to take care of your ageing parents (and return the favour they did upon you when you were little). Let’s begin!
Find And Employ Support Resources
If you’re busy and caring for your ageing parent overwhelms you, you can always opt for support resources. One valuable resource to consider is a Sydney retirement community. These communities offer living options and leisure facilities for the elderly in safe and secure locations.
Understand Their Needs
Your parents’ ability to perform daily activities will change as they age. This is why it is crucial to understand their needs by monitoring their activities in everyday life. These are tasks that most people do routinely but become increasingly difficult with age or illness.
Some common activities of daily living to monitor include:
- Eating – Monitor if your parents are having difficulty eating properly. Difficulty could include issues with preparing meals or physically being able to consume them.
- Bathing and Personal Hygiene – If your dad, who always looks neat, starts to look a bit untidy, he might be finding it hard to clean and groom himself.
- Dressing – Are there clothes piling up in the laundry? Is your parent wearing the same clothes over and over? These might be signs that dressing or doing laundry has become challenging.
- Mobility – Pay attention if your parents are having trouble moving around in their home. Are they holding onto furniture for support, or have there been recent falls? These can be signs of declining physical strength or balance.
- Toilet Use – This can be a sensitive issue to discuss. However, it’s essential to understand if they are facing any problems in using the toilet.
Once you understand what your parents need from you, you’ll be able to take better care of them.
Manage Their Physical Health
Taking care of an ageing parent also means managing their healthcare needs effectively. This includes taking them for regular health check-ups, which are necessary to identify any early warning signs of illnesses and assess the risk of future medical problems.
Ideally, a complete physical examination should be conducted once every year. It’s also recommended to accompany your parents to their physician’s appointments.
This way, you can have a better understanding of their health condition and can adjust their care as needed. It also gives you the chance to ask the doctor questions directly and clarify any doubts you might have.
However, remember that good healthcare doesn’t end at the doctor’s office. Here are some areas where you can help your parent at home:
- Dental Health – Promote a low-sugar diet to decrease the risk of tooth loss or gum disease and schedule yearly dental check-ups.
- Diet –A balanced diet is vital. Aim for at least two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables daily. Or, you can consider providing them with products such as Souvenaid, which provides essential nutrients needed for slowing memory decline.
- Weight Checks – Monthly weight checks can help monitor your parents’ overall health and may help them prevent hypertension, arthritis, or diabetes.
Keep An Eye On Their Emotional And Mental Health
WHO reports that 15% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder. This is not just about dementia, which is often the only mental health condition we associate with aging.It also includes depression, anxiety, and social isolation.
This is why it’s crucial to be attentive to any signs of changes in your parent’s mood or behaviour. If you notice them losing interest in the activities they once enjoyed or signs of confusion, it may be time to seek professional help.
In addition to professional support, you can help your parents’ mental health by:
- Encouraging them to maintain social contact. Invite over their friends and family to spend some good time together.
- Playing mind games — such as puzzles and crosswords — and reading together to keep their mind engaged.
- Promoting physical activities. You can go for a walk or do gardening every day with them for 30 minutes.
- Engaging them in relaxation techniques. Meditation, deep breathing, and listening to calm music can all help reduce stress and promote mental peace.
Be Open To Communication
Sometimes, all ageing parents need from you is your time and willingness to listen. So make an effort to talk to them and discuss their day-to-day experiences and their expectations for the future. Being open to such discussions will make them feel valued and help you identify any changes in their needs or health condition.
Ensure A Safe Living Environment
Creating a safe living environment for your ageing parent is also crucial. Here are some simple steps to ensure their safety:
- Remove any potential hazards like loose rugs or cluttered walkways from their space.
- Install safety features such as grab bars or handrails in bathrooms or stairs.
- Organise medications using pill organisers and use pill alarms.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.Help Them Manage Finances
Finances are a private matter for many individuals, including ageing parents. So before getting involved in your parents’ financial affairs, it’s essential to look for signs indicating a need for assistance.
Once you figure out that your parents need your help to manage their finances, start understanding their financial situation, including income, expenses, and debts. Once you’ve done that, here are some ways to help them out:
- Keep important documents organised and easily accessible.
- Create a budget that aligns with their income.
- Automate bill payments to ensure timely payments.
- Educate them about common financial scams that target the elderly to save them from financial fraud.
- Consult with a financial advisor or elder law attorney specialising in senior financial matters. Take Care Of Yourself
In this entire process of taking care of your parents, don’t forget to look after yourself. That’s because if your physical or mental health declines, your parents will automatically suffer. So take regular breaks to recharge and engage in activities that bring you joy.
Caring for an ageing parent is a significant responsibility. By understanding their medical and financial needs, fostering communication, and creating a safe living environment for them, you can provide the care and support they deserve.
And if you think you’ll be unable to properly care for your folks, you can always seek the support of a retirement community.