4 Respectful Ways for You to Support & Care for Your Aging Parents

Your relationship with your parents will change a lot over time, but it may be especially hard for you and your parents to swap roles and responsibilities. Your parents are used to looking out for you, but they may need you to step in and help them with daily tasks, health management, and other issues as they get older. 

It can be tricky to take on a caregiver role without coming off as patronizing or overbearing, but there are plenty of respectful ways for you to help care for your aging parents and give back everything that they have given you. Keep reading for a few suggestions that will make their lives a little easier and show them that you care.

Keep in Contact

No matter how far away your parents live, you can find ways to stay in contact with them and make sure they know you care. If they live close by, you can visit them often and make an effort to include them in major life events. If they live further away, you can have regular conversations over the phone and share pictures to keep them updated on your family. 

If your parent or loved one is in a nursing home or retirement community, keeping in touch through visits and calls is especially important. Older adults’ mental and physical health can deteriorate quickly when they feel isolated, so it’s essential that they know you care. Visits are the best way for family members to keep an eye on their loved one’s condition, so be on the lookout for signs of bad care while you spend time with them.

Assist Them with Daily Tasks

If you are able to visit your parents’ home frequently, you should offer to help them with daily tasks to make their lives a little easier. Picking up groceries, driving to appointments, and maintaining their homes may become harder for your parents to handle as they get older and their mobility is limited, so they will likely appreciate your help. Even if your life is busy, try to set aside time every week to visit them and do a few chores for them. Sometimes, parents are hesitant to accept aid from their children even when they need it. If you start stepping in to help now, they may be more comfortable with asking for help later. 

Further, older adults may be prescribed medications that make driving unsafe. If you are able to drive your parents around to do errands, you could minimize the chance of them being involved in a serious accident.

Stay Informed About Their Health

Next, it’s essential that you have open conversations with your parents about their health issues, their treatment plans, and their current condition. If your parent is battling a serious illness, you should know what to expect during the course of their treatment. Educate yourself on their conditions, medications, and potential problems so that you can make informed decisions in the event of an emergency or better understand their doctors’ advice. 

Nursing home residents need special attention, so make sure to keep track of changes in your parent’s condition or signs of neglect or abuse. If they aren’t in good enough shape to make decisions about their own care, you have to be their advocate. Don’t hesitate to report bad staff members, transfer your parent to another facility, or file a lawsuit for poor care. Many common nursing home problems--like medication errors, bed sores, and fall injuries--can be life-threatening, so take them seriously and be vigilant in protecting your parent’s wellness.

Make Their Home Safer

Finally, you may want to make some changes to your parents’ home to make it safer. You can install guard rails and banisters along staircases, move things around to prevent fall hazards, or replace furniture and fixtures with safer options that will better suit your parents’ needs. As their mobility and habits change, you can help them make their environment more suitable for them to age in place.

 If you’re concerned for your aging parents, don’t hesitate to reach out and help them manage life’s changes. They will be grateful to have your support. Make use of these tips to give back the love, attention, and effort your parents put into caring for you.