It’s hard to realize that your parents are aging and need your support to manage their daily lives. As they grow older, they start to become less independent- but tend to reject assistance simply because they want to stay in control of their own lives. For a person trying to help their parents, it’s necessary to take the lead and take over some decision-making. However, that’s not easy to do without making them feel helpless and weak. It’s a priority for everyone to keep their aging parents safe, but most people don’t know how to do that without depriving their parents of their independence and letting them make their own decisions.
This article shows you how to help your parents and prioritize their safety without taking away their dignity and making them feel weak. Here are 6 tips for tackling this issue.
1. Allow Them To Take The Lead
Instead of carrying tasks out for your parents, let them do these tasks with you. This will help keep their self-esteem intact and also allow them to stay sharp in their abilities. Taking over completely and doing everything for them may take less time and get things done. Still, it will also deprive your parents of their mental capabilities and only contribute to declining their physical functioning abilities. This causes your older mom or dad to completely dissociate from participating in everyday tasks and will put a great load on you as a caregiver to take care of everything for them. You want to involve them in everything you do for them and keep their mental state as active as possible by letting them decide for themselves and only assisting them instead of completely taking over.
2. Treat Them with Respect
This means you need to always ask for permission before stepping in and doing the job for them. Ask them if it’s okay for you to be there for regular doctor check-ups or medical examinations. Let them decide whether they want you helping or not, and avoid treating them like children. Aging is hard, but your parents did not choose to be such a burden, and they most definitely can take care of themselves as long as their physical abilities allow this. Avoid being demeaning or intervening in their business without being invited; the more you will force your assistance, the more likely your parents will reject it to protect their dignity.
3. Look For Community Resources
To make the responsibility put on most caregivers a little bit easier, some people look for help from community services. For instance, these services are available in most countries, like the elders’ residence and home care services found in Australia. You can let your parents decide on whether they are okay with this or not. If they agree, then the next step, according to arcare.com.au, is to look at the facility and the services they provide and reviews from others. This way, they will find consistent support and feel less of a burden to the caregivers who help them with their everyday life tasks. Other community services can be in the form of meal delivery programs or hired companions that stay with your parents all the time to look after them when needed.
4. Set Up A Safety System
Your parents might accept your assistance and let you look after them, but you still can’t keep them safe all day long. Using new methods and tools that help your parents finish their tasks without asking for help is something that every parent will love. This is because using these pieces of equipment will allow them to maintain their independence. For example, using a medical alert system or wearable pendants can alert others when a medical emergency happens. Something that will let caregivers enjoy a peaceful life without worrying about their parents’ falls or accidents.
5. Learn to Communicate with Their Doctors
To take care of their health, you have to build a good relationship with their healthcare professionals. Take notes when talking to their doctors and prepare your questions before going to the appointments. Talk to the doctors after examinations and make sure what they say is clear to your parents if they have any questions. Take care of their legal documents and medical information, and follow up on the doctor’s instructions as older parents tend to forget their dosage and medications.
6. Make Their Wellbeing A Priority
Older parents who suffer from cognitive issues may act recklessly and disregard their physical abilities, putting themselves in danger. Your assistance and intervention will be necessary in such cases, even if it’s slightly forceful or against their will. After all, their safety is the most important thing, so make sure you step in when your help is needed. Some seniors with memory issues may make poor decisions and risk their safety; this is why sometimes you need to take the lead and make sure your parents are not harming themselves while performing daily tasks.
Your parents’ safety is the most important thing, no matter how hard they try to resist your involvement in their lives. Be respectful with how you offer them help and make sure they don’t feel any less controlling or independent. The best way to do this is to know when to jump in and let them take care of themselves. Don’t force any decisions and let them decide before you make any changes to their lives. Your parents are not children, and they can definitely make smart decisions; you need to monitor these decisions and make sure they are on the right track.