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4 Tips to Making Your Parent’s Life a Little Easier as They Become More Dependent

Young woman with long hair handing a small present with a red bow to a senior woman seated beside herBy Anica Oaks

Aging, with its inevitability, means that as our parents grow older they may become more dependent on us for help with everyday tasks. While it can be difficult to see our parents in this light, there are some things we can do to make their lives a little easier. Here are four tips to get you started.

Be Patient and Understanding

After living a life of self-sufficiency with all, or most, senses intact, it is stressful to begin losing the ability to do things that were once so simple. Our parents may become frustrated or even angry at their new situation. Try to be patient and understanding with them as they adjust to what is their new norm. Discuss potential solutions with them if it’s reasonable. Losing power over their decision-making is one of the fears of aging, so try to give them as much control over their lives as possible. Know that you may have to try multiple solutions to each challenge to find one that feels most comfortable for them.

Encourage Independence

While our parents may need help with some things, it is important to encourage their independence as much as possible. This not only helps them maintain a sense of self-sufficiency but can also help prevent feelings of frustration or anger at their situation. Help them find ways to do the things they enjoy, even if it means making some adjustments. For example, if they can no longer drive, help them find alternative transportation options or ways to get where they need to go.

Make Their Home Safe and Comfortable

As our parent’s age, their homes may become more difficult for them to navigate or take care of on their own. This might be a great time to discuss home care. Home care service offers help with things like transportation, grocery shopping, cooking, or cleaning the house. It can also include lawn maintenance, errands, and even wellness and social activities. Taking care of these things can take a big load off of our parents and enrich their overall wellness.

Emotional Support and Communication

The aging process can be difficult, both physically and emotionally. Be there for your parents to talk to about their fears, concerns, or frustrations. Listen to them without judgment and offer support and advice if they want it. If they are experiencing depression or anxiety, consider getting them some professional help. It’s also important to keep the lines of communication open between you and your parents so that they feel comfortable coming to you with anything they need. Visit and check in with them regularly. One of the saddest things about aging is the fear of being alone and forgotten in a time when people are so busy.

 

The transition to becoming more dependent in our later years is not easy, but with the help of a supportive network of family and friends, it is manageable. These tips are just a starting point. Talk to your parents, research resources in your area, and do what you can to make this time a little easier for everyone involved.

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