You may live close or far away from your aging parents, but time is a bigger problem than distance. But you don’t have to be by their side 24/7 since there are lots of ways to care for them in today’s busy society. Here are some of the things you can do to help your parents with feelings of isolation and loneliness, as well as other issues that come with old age.
Go to see them frequently
Even though you are busy, you need to make sure you see more of your parents. Modern technology is wonderful, but nothing can replace the effect of an in-person visit. Moreover, this will allow you to see how your parents are, something they can easily hide or omit during online conversations.
During the global pandemic and lockdown, people had social gatherings, like dinners, with their parents over video call apps. This can still be a useful means to stay in touch, but not a way to replace face-to-face interactions.
Keep in touch all the time
Today's technology offers a multitude of ways to maintain contact with your aging parents. While you may not have time for long conversations every day, you can stay in touch with messages and emails. For example, wish them the good morning before going to work, send them pictures of something interesting you saw during the day, and give them a call in the evening.
If one of your parents passed away, you should consider making calls more often, to prevent depression and loneliness. In case of an especially busy day, make a video or voice recording and send it to them. Seeing you and hearing you may cheer them up and let them know you care.
Encourage them to make friends
There are lots of community events for seniors where they can socialize and make friends. If your parents are not eager to go, accompany them to these gatherings. New people can inspire them to leave the house more, have fun, and boost their mood.
It’s nice that they can rely on their children for everything, but they should also preserve their independence and lead a separate life from yours. That way, neither of you will feel pressure, but eagerness to spend time with each other.
Help them be active
Physical activity is a valuable resource to improve thinking, boost the mood, and keep their muscles and bones in good shape. When time is scarce, you can go for a walk in the nearby park or around the neighborhood. If your aging parents are in good physical health, suggest they join a jogging group for seniors or a Tai Chi class.
Once a month, it would be nice to take them swimming, hiking, or camping, especially if they have grandchildren so the whole family can spend time together. Most people need a nudge or an exercise buddy, so be their support and see them getting used to being physically active.
Arrange for palliative care
In case your aging parent is suffering from an illness that greatly affects their quality of life, consider placing them in palliative care. However, unlike hospice, patients here are receiving treatment and may recover from their health issues, even if they have serious conditions, like cancer or heart disease.
This is an excellent choice to get relief for your parent from symptoms and worry caused by their illness. The staff is made of doctors, nurses, and other professionals who can make them feel more comfortable and face the stress with a positive state of mind.
Hire help around the house
If your aging parents have trouble maintaining the house or doing simple things, like cooking, or you just want to pamper them, consider hiring help. This can be something small like a cleaning lady once a week, or a more permanent arrangement, for example, a driver or a cook.
To help them with groceries, you can order them online and have them delivered to their doors. Also, a live-in maid may be a good option if your parents need daily help with certain chores.
Show your aging parents you love them
Calling, writing, and hiring help will show your parents you care, but sometimes a show of affection can be more significant. So, send them flowers or a fruit basket, sign them up for a cruise, or get them plane tickets to come and visit you.
Showing them they’re loved also means you need them, something elderly people like to know to feel connected to the world. It's also an efficient way to help them avoid getting depressed, feeling lonely, or dwell on dark thoughts about their future.
The sad truth is that you may not have a lot of time left with your aging parents. This is something both you and them are aware of, so make the most of it. Provide the best possible care and find a way to spend more time with them in today's busy society. It may not always be the kind of attention you would like, but a short message can make a lot of difference from not saying anything at all.
Published by Lena Hemsworth