How Do I Take Care of My Aging Parents?

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Caring for aging parents feels like the responsibility of every adult child, but how do you do it?

We’re never taught how to care for other adults. We may know how to take care of children, but the elderly are a whole different story, and making the transition from “cared for” to a caregiver is difficult.

You don’t have to go in blind. We want to offer some advice on how to care for aging parents to make the transition easier. Read on for our brief, but helpful, guide.

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Assess Their Needs

Not all elderly people are going to have the same needs as they age. You know your parents best, so you’re going to have to make a judgment call based on your own observations, the suggestions of doctors, and your parents’ input.

Knowing how to care for aging parents starts with knowing the care that they need. Do they need to live with you? Are they happier in their own homes with frequent check-ins? Would they be better off with a nurse nearby?

If they have specific health, mobility, or dietary needs, you’re going to want to take note of that early on.

Share the Load

Even if your loved one lives with you, you don’t have to handle everything alone.

If your elderly parent is in need of a lot of care don’t be afraid to ask siblings or other family members for help now and again. It’s okay to take a break.

It might also be helpful to hire someone for respite care. You’ll know that your loved one is in good hands.

Pay Attention to Enrichment

Regardless of the health state of your aging parent, we all have enrichment needs. We need fully enriched lives to feel fulfilled and happy.

Parents who are still mobile and active may be interested in helping around the house with chores or children. While your first instinct might be to make them sit back and relax, doing this kind of housework is good for their brains and bodies.

Parents who are uninterested in such tasks may be interested in games, puzzles, or other things that can still stimulate the mind. While health and wellness are important, enrichment is what really makes life enjoyable.

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Don’t Feel Guilty If You Can’t Care in Person

Not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver for an elderly parent. It can be hard emotionally and physically exhausting. It’s okay to seek out professional help or even an assisted living community. That’s what they’re for.

Finding alternative care options for aging parents is just as helpful as providing that care on your own, moreso if it’s outside of your capability. It’s easy to feel caretaker guilt around this, but you don’t have to.

Do You Know How to Care for Aging Parents?

Learning how to care for aging parents is a necessary step in many people’s lives. We have to switch roles, something that can be scary and overwhelming.

Talk to your parents about their wants and needs. Working together will make the transition easier.

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