caring for our
aging parents They gave us life, and they taught us to walk, talk, and become a responsible adult; now it’s our turn to take care of them. Aging is difficult for everyone, and it can be particularly emotional when it comes to our parents. Here’s what we can do to make this life transition easier:
BE PATIENT AND KIND. Use
words that empower them. Continue to ask them for advice and opinions so they feel like they still have something to offer.
TALK WITH FAMILY MEMBERS AND ASSIGN CHORES. Sometimes our worst
characteristics come out under stress. Have a family meeting and agree on who will do what.
COOK AND CLEAN FOR THEM. Just knowing that you care
enough to come help out will do wonders for their state of mind. Have a cooking party and create their favorite dishes and freeze for future use.
KEEP THEM SOCIALLY ACTIVE. Depression is common
among the elderly so keep your parent(s) engaged with exercise, eating out, or just a trip to the park.
| MAY 2018
TALK TO A FINANCIAL PLANNER. You may need to take
over the bills; are they stacking up or going unpaid? A financial planner will counsel you on everything from living arrangements to the ever-important living will.
REEVALUATE THEIR LIVING SPACE. Look into such things as
easy-to-use handles and switches, pullout cabinets, bathroom alterations, and dealing with stairs. Also, how’s the housekeeping? If you notice that the bathroom or kitchen cleanliness is not up to par, this could be a red ﬂag.
CONSULT THE EXPERTS.
Support groups, attorneys, counselors, community and Federal aid—don’t be afraid to ask for help. Especially if you are going to be a full-time, in-home caregiver.
TAKE A DRIVE WITH THEM.
This is a difﬁcult topic to broach, so tread lightly. There’s only one way to determine if driving is still safe, and that is to get in the passenger seat. If it looks like revocation of license is necessary, ease into things by asking them to go with you to the grocery store and to run errands—so it looks like you just want their company, not their driver’s license.
WATCH THE MEDS. It is common
for seniors to self-medicate and ration their medications at their own discretion; your local pharmacist is a valuable resource for advice. You may also need to consider having a medical power of attorney which will give you the authority to make decisions regarding everything from medical procedures to removing life support. For more information on aging parents, contact www.aarp.org.
Lake Norman Woman Magazine May 2018