Wednesday, August 26, 2020

5 ways we can help elderly family members

This guest post is helpful but during the pandemic, we're prevented from seeing loved ones. It's for their own good. Please let's refrain from visiting our elderly family members to keep them safe from the COVID-19 disease. We can use technology instead to maintain a meaningful relationship with our senior loved ones. Be safe, practise social distancing, and stay home!

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GUEST POST - For many of us, family comes first before anything else. The aging process is inevitable, so doing everything you can to support your loved ones as they enter their senior years is important. As your parents get older, they may require more help and assistance, and you’ll want to know how to act and what strategies to take. With that in mind, here are 5 ways in which you can help elderly family members.

Empathize with Your Parents

As your parents get older, you may be startled by their frustration, change in behavior, or neediness. There may be some instances where they’re very unpleasant to be around. However, you need to be empathetic towards their situation and understand that they may be acting out of fear, rather than a personal attack on you. Aging is a series of losses, such as health and wellbeing, employment, and independence, so try and put yourself in their shoes, which can help you know what action to take.

Keep in Regular Contact

If you live nearby your elderly parents, popping in regularly and seeing how they’re doing can make all the difference. For those who live further away, there are lots of ways that you can keep in touch, such as by using video conferencing tools like FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Viber, or Zoom.

As your parents head into their senior years, your interaction may be the only one they receive that day, so it’s important that you maintain regular contact. We all live busy lives, so it’s advised to set a reminder on your smartphone so you can check how they’re doing. 

Get Other Family Involved

If you have siblings, it’s important that you share the responsibilities of looking after your elderly parents. Effective communication is critical among family members, especially if your parents require additional support and assistance. Having a close circle around you can help reduce stress levels and be a good opportunity to let off steam. Seeing your loved ones decline in health can be heartbreaking, so having other family members who can be a shoulder to cry on is important. If your siblings live nearby your parents, they can keep you regularly updated on how they’re doing, which can bring you peace of mind.

You can also ask your parents' neighbors to check on your parents every day. Maybe they can play cards together, start a gardening hobby and grow vegetables together, or watch a favorite show at each other's houses.

Seek Out Potential Problems

When visiting your parents’ home, there may be repairs or changes that need to be immediately addressed. The last thing you want is to return to your own home and be worrying about your parents’ health and safety, so make sure that you look out for uneven flooring and ensure essential items are within arm’s reach.

Many elderly family members want to hold onto their independence for as long as possible, so make sure you tell them that you’re trying to help, rather than being a hindrance. Should your parents have a fall because of uneven flooring, you will never forgive yourself for not acting sooner, so seeking out potential problems and rectifying them is key. 

Encourage Physical Activity

Many aging parents tend to shy away from the outside world, which can have a huge impact on their health and wellbeing. We all know how important regular exercise is for our mind and body, so encouraging your parents to get out and about is crucial. If your parents struggle with their mobility, there are very heavy duty mobility scooters that can help them get around with ease. There are tons of light exercises and activities that your senior parents can take up, like yoga, walking, and stretching, which can boost their mindset for the better.

If your parents’ health is starting to decline once they enter their senior years, it can be hard to see them struggle in front of your eyes. Being there for your elderly family members and supporting them in the best way you can ensure they lead a good quality of life. 

*Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

* This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email frances@topazhorizon.com. 

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