The human brain changes over time as we become older, according to science. Along with other bodily changes like wrinkled skin, puffy eyes, and a frailer voice, our brain also goes back in time and reverts to baby-like functionality.
We’d most likely lose patience with our elderly ones when these changes start to manifest, subtly at first, and then more pronounced with time. Sometimes, their actions can be exasperating – we have to repeat certain words for them to understand or break down certain concepts to their level. It is, however, imperative for us to be careful around them because, at that stage, they are behaving appropriately for their age. We’ve collated a few tips to help you take better care of your aged parents.
Make a decision on where they’ll live
One of the first steps in providing care for an ageing parent is deciding where the care is going to take place. Who will be their caregiver, when and where? Are they moving in with you, into a nursing home, or are you providing a professional caregiver who will live with and take care of them? Sometimes, this can be a tough decision to make, but it is an important one that has to be made quickly.
Show them love and care as much as you can
People who have aged parents should know that it is at this stage they need the utmost attention and care. It might be tough having to think of our ourselves and families, work, businesses, future, and so on, and at the same time having to care for our aged parents. The first thing we must however learn, as our parents become older, is patience and the need to be calm with them.
Be there for them
Today’s world of japa – emigration – has made it difficult for many young people to be around their parents, physically. Thankfully, we have technology that is bridging the distance. You can make weekly calls, monthly family meetings or call every other day to check up on your parents. At this stage of their lives, it is important to ensure your parents feel loved and cared for. Being there for them is also providing for them financially. Many of them can no longer work as much as they used to and will depend on you 100% for all their needs.
Be gentle with your words
Another way to help them is to be careful of what you say to them, and how you say them. There’s a tendency to flare up when they do certain things you do not appreciate, or overreact when they do or say something out of discourse. That is where patience comes in.
Keep them active and healthy
Encourage your parents to take morning or evening walks, or do very easy exercises. Many elderly people no longer drive, but still need to remain active and healthy. Staying active can help give them back a sense of freedom and will keep muscles moving and working. This includes their diet too; watch what they eat and when. It is very important to invest in a health insurance policy for your parents. This will ensure that they remain stress-free and protected.
Encourage them to have a social life
Studies show that loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher rates of depression in older people. From parties to social gatherings, ceremonies and being a part of a community, it is important to encourage your parents to have a social life. Let them catch up with old buddies, go to parks, join religious organisations, join a support group, and be active.
Taking care of aged parents requires strength and can be time-consuming. You don’t have to do it alone; if it gets overwhelming, you can seek the help of social workers or healthcare providers.
Featured Image: Dreamstime