As our parents age, we may find ourselves in the position of having to help them with tasks they can no longer do on their own. Figuring out how to strike the right balance between helping and taking over can be a challenge, but it’s an important one to address. Keep reading for some tips on how to help your aging parents without overstepping.
Ask them what they need.
One important factor to keep in mind when helping aging parents is that they probably still want to feel independent and in control of their lives. So, rather than telling them what you think they need or want, ask them directly. This is the best way to understand their situation and what kind of support they may need from you.
Some things you could ask your parents include:
- What can I do to help you stay independent and comfortable?
- Is there anything I can do to make life easier for you?
- What are your biggest concerns right now?
- Do you have enough money to cover your expenses?
- Are there any specific tasks or activities that are becoming more difficult for you?
- Can I take over any of those tasks for you?
When asking older adults what they need, it’s important to take their responses seriously and respect their desire to remain independent.
Learn about the resources available to help you.
There are many resources available to help caregivers of older adults. The National Institute on Aging offers a variety of helpful tips and advice on its website, including how to create a caregiving plan, communicate with your parents, and deal with difficult emotions.
Senior care has come a long way in recent years, and there are now many services available to help with daily activities such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, medication management, and so much more. Rideshare companies for seniors are great, and they offer a wide range of transportation services, including rides to and from doctor’s appointments, prescription pick-up, and grocery delivery. These services are a great option for seniors who no longer have their own car or have medical conditions which prevent them from driving.
If you’re looking for a transportation service for your aging parent, simply go online and search for “best ride service for seniors + [your location]” to find options near you.
Let them know you’re always available to help.
If your aging family members want to maintain independent living, but you’re noticing that they could use some help with daily activities, there are ways to do so without overstepping their boundaries. Here are some things to keep in mind when offering to help:
Let them know you’re always available to talk or lend a hand when needed: This is a simple but great way to remind them that they are supported and appreciated.
Offer practical assistance when needed: This could include things like helping them store clothing in storage units, sell their car, pick up prescriptions, buy groceries, or run other simple errands.
Respect their independence as much as possible: Allow them to make their own decisions whenever possible, even if you don’t agree with them. Remember, your parents are entitled to their autonomy, and it’s important to trust that they’ll ask for help when they need it.
Stay connected with them: Talk on the phone, visit often, and invite them over for dinner or social events with other family members. No one can take care of older adults singlehandedly, but by forming a supportive network of family and friends, you can make the burden lighter for everyone involved.
Most of all, it’s important to be patient and understanding. Your parents may not always be able to do things the way they used to, and that’s okay! Just be supportive and helpful when they need it.