If we’re lucky, age is something that comes to us all. But it can be difficult noticing our parents getting older. The realization that they won’t be around for forever is difficult to accept. And it can be hard realizing that they may need a little extra help.
But for many people, their later years are rich and fulfilling. They no longer need to work and often they are more financially secure. This allows them to enjoy their hobbies and spend time with their families. There are lots of things you can do to help them live a full and rewarding life.
Many people prefer to live in their own homes for as long as possible. Independence is important. Assuming they are in good health and have the right support in place, this is a desirable option. There are many areas in which you can help them.
If your parents are finding it difficult to live alone, you may have to explore other solutions. Would they be able to live with you or one of your siblings? What about a residential home or retirement community? Discuss the options with your parents and their health workers to understand their feelings.
2. Medical Care
Access to the right medical care is key. Make sure they are able to see their doctor regularly. Undergoing check ups and having someone to discuss any concerns with is invaluable. Little things, such as making sure they can pick up medication and supplements is also important. Often pharmacies provide a delivery service which may help.
With old age comes other problems, such as reduced sight and hearing. Not being able to hear properly can be isolating. It can also be daunting when you leave the house. So having access to the right accessories will make a positive difference in their lives. Their doctor will be able to monitor this, and there are many solutions on the market. Shop around to find the right one. You can find out more about sound amplifiers here.
Access to a healthy diet is important for everyone and particularly the very old. If your parents are unable to cook for themselves, you will need to explore the various options. Many organisations offer a meal delivery service. The service only provides cooked food, but it also provides companionship and someone to keep a watchful eye over seniors. If your parents are able to get out, they may enjoy meals at community centers, restaurants, etc.
Human beings are social creatures and need other people. This goes right back to our early ancestors. We need others in order to survive. If you have parents who live alone, this can be a lonely time. Imagine having no-one to talk to for days on end. Imagine coming home to an empty house each day and every day.
Fortunately, there are many groups and schemes which are working hard to overcome this. If your parent can get out and about, there are clubs and community centers they can join. For the housebound, there are visitor schemes and phone lines. Of course, nothing beats your own family. So make sure you visit and phone as often as you can. Even if you’re far away, keeping in touch via Skype or similar will be appreciated.
- Technology And Social Media
In a connected world, there are countless opportunities for seniors to connect with others. Ensure they have the right equipment to get online. Do they have a cell phone, PC, and broadband? According to research, Internet use among the 65s and overs grew by 150% between 2009 and 2011. The research also revealed that within this bracket, 71% go online daily. Popular uses include connecting with younger members of the family and education. Many people also use the Internet to look up friends from the past. It is also used to gain information and for medical reasons. Overcoming loneliness cannot be overestimated. Having access to the Internet is one way of tackling this.
As we get older, we find we can’t do all the things we used to be able to do. Some of our choices are taken away. This can be hard to get used to. Therefore, it’s important that other choices are available. Always discuss options with parents. Don’t assume you know what they want or what is best for them. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think how you might feel. One day it could be you, having a similar conversation with your children. How would you like them to treat you?