Assisting Aging Loved Ones Without Taking Over Their Lives

Coming to terms with your aging parents getting much older is usually not a straightforward process. Your once active and independent parents slowly become increasingly dependent on you to assist them with their daily tasks like preparing their meals and laundry. Besides, if they happen to have specific health issues, they’ll also need your assistance with managing their medications and making other important healthcare decisions. 

As dependent as your aging parents will become on your support, there is a very thin line between assisting them in managing their lives and completely taking over – and most people end up crossing that line. That is especially the case when your parents are hesitant to ask for or accept assistance from anybody. So, how do you provide the support they need without completely taking over their lives? How do you assist them without intruding or making them upset? The following tips should help. 

Have that all-important discussion in a calm and clear way

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First things first. You need to take the time to speak with your aging parents about their needs and how you can help, especially when they are not forthcoming with it. It is a huge mistake to assume that your parents want you to take over their daily lives simply because they are weak without speaking with them. Your discussions should cover essential topics like whether they want to age in place or prefer moving into assisted living. It should also cover other things like necessary medicare and chiropractic care, as they will play a massive role in ensuring that they’re both physically and mentally healthy. 

Let your aging parents take the lead

Even during the discussion stage, it is easy to feel the need to dominate the discussion. You should remember that your parents still know what they want, and your part is to take the time to listen. Once you pass this stage, find ways to do the tasks alongside your parents instead of for them, especially if they still maintain some level of mobility. Granted that their approach might mean it will take longer to complete those tasks than doing it yourself. However, you will be helping your loved ones retain some level of their independence. Plus, their participation will help keep their minds sharp and their bodies active. 

Be very respectful

It is only natural for adults to experience mental and physical health deterioration as they age. And in almost every case, this will affect the quality of their lives or even make it a bit frustrating to offer the help they need. However, you need to be very respectful of your parents and their needs, especially during this period. No matter your loved one’s mental or physical health, they still crave respect from their children. So, treat them with the dignity they deserve first as elderly human beings, and secondly, as the parents who raised and cared for you. Use common courtesy when speaking with them, and always ask their permission when you need to invade their privacy. Exercise a lot of patience with them and appreciate their points of view. 

Create a safety support system

You can’t do it all alone, especially when your loved ones depend a lot on you to get through their days. One way to offer all the assistance they need without intruding or invading their personal lives is to create a safety support system that protects them and helps them assist themselves in your absence. Doing this will limit the care burden on you and prevent burnouts while making it possible for them to regain some degree of independence, no matter how small it is. For example, you can research various assisted devices, mobility aids, medication organizers, and reminders, depending on their unique care needs. If you’re unsure of which devices will work best for your parents or if they have special health needs, it would be best if you first spoke with their doctor for recommendations. 

Accept support when you can

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You’re doing your best not to be overbearing in any way. And you need to use the same approach when accepting help from others. First, speak with your parent about needing an extra pair of hands, then agree on the best options. For example, do you want to bring a professional caregiver or need help from other family members, friends, or neighbors? Doing this is especially important to ensure that you do not break down. It will also help when you are too occupied with other responsibilities.

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