It’s a funny old life, isn’t it? Our parents spend the first few years of our lives teaching us to eat, walk, talk and be independent. They then spend a few years tackling the independence they taught us with following the rules and being a part of society. Once we’ve flown the nest and gone out into the world, they’re still raising us and at the end of the phone when we have questions to ask or things to say to someone – anyone. And then before we know it, our parents are old, and we’re still waiting to grow up. I don’t think any adult thinks they’re really an adult until it’s their children that are the grown-ups!
There may come a day that your parents need you to look after them, and this game of role reversal isn’t an easy thing to do. However, if you have a good relationship with your parents, it’s very likely that you’ll want to give back to them and make them feel secure and supported – just like they did for you. Parents may need your help one day, and we’ve got six great ways that you can look after them.
- Empathize. Your parents are going to be getting older and that can be frustrating. When they’ve spent their whole lives being independent, it’s not easy to rely on home care agencies or on you to get through their day to day. It won’t be easy to be around them, but you can empathize with why it’s so hard. Loss of independence, a growing infirmity – it all works together to make for a frazzled and frustrated parent.
- Call. Sometimes, all you need to do to make their life easy is to pick up the phone and have a conversation. Your parents raise you, and you move out to live your life – that’s the way the cookie crumbles. However, they don’t want to be forgotten about, and you don’t have to forget them.
- Don’t be alone. Parents need support, and sometimes that goes beyond being a doting child of theirs. Home care agencies are there to help you with the support that you need to give them. Doing it all alone is a struggle and you can’t do it all – you have your own life to lead, too.
- Look for issues. What’s your parent’s house like? Is it safe? They once child-proofed it for you and now it’s your turn to ensure that they can’t trip, slip or fall down any stairs. Unsteady parents can end up with a broken hip, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Watch out for their safety.
- Be an advocate. It’s not always easy for your parents to tell people what they want, but if you are their advocate, they have a second, stronger voice to benefit from.
- Get them active. It’s no use to allow your parents to fester in the home. The world is a changing place, and they will be better served if they are out and about in the world.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio