Most of us were fortunate enough to grow up next to the caring parents, especially mothers, who spent decades trying hard to provide all we needed in a material and emotional manner. If the life follows its natural cycle, there will certainly come the phase when the tables turn. Our parents will obviously face aging process with all of its challenging changes and aspects, and it is going to be our duty to assist them during these years. Being there for our parents during the last period of their lives is not only a duty due to family relationship. Approaching them in the best possible way in the aging phase and providing all we can at a given period is the only way to face final ending with a certain level of peace.
However, not all of us are skilled by nature or have temperament and knowledge to cope with these challenges in an optimal manner. To avoid frustrations, problems and emotional issue for both, children and elder parents, here are some of the most useful practical tips.
Compassion, understanding and accepting the changes
Habits, life style and many character features of your parents are a pretty consistent aspect of their lives even in this period of changes. Deal with the idea that you cannot change them fundamentally. Also, aging imposes various tough changes of personality, often even irritating characteristics. These aspects require your full compassion, self-control, and the best shot to understand that you cannot fight the natural course. Train your empathy and actual patience when dealing with practical issues of the aging.
Observe and intervene without being asked to
As the year’s pass, your parents will slowly lose one by one of their skills and capabilities. Their actual daily needs will grow, and the assistance will become necessary in many aspects. However, being aware of this is a personal defeat and to ask for help directly might feel humiliating. Prevent them from feeling this way by observing their behavior, noticing the aspect where you should intervene and provide help in a subtle manner.
Flex the rules, but impose simple routines
As long as your parents are relatively healthy, daily routines won’t be a major problem. Once the serious health issue, especially dementia, strike, you will have to adjust and modify routine. Keep it simple according to the memory capacity of the parent. Also, bear in mind that forgetting or confusion or any other expected problem will face you with the unpleasant situation and require to be flexible and prepared for it.
Practical advice for daily routine
Managing their health care is probably the most important aspect. Hire a nurse, consider hospice or organize family members in such a manner to provide continuously available assistance. Write down the short list of the most important phone numbers they should have close and place it at some obvious place. Organize their day, especially periods when you are not around, but do not try to control their lives. Don’t deprive them of their finances, as long as their mental state is solid, but get the access to it and keep an eye on potential issues.