Aging is unavoidable, which means that even our most loved ones are not immune to the effects as the years go on. While we spend time worrying about the new lines creeping into the corners of our eyes or whether we are going to have enough pension to live when we retire, it can be easy to forget that those around us are aging too- until we catch up with them.
If there is family who wants to or is required to help their parents as they get older, they might feel a sudden urge to up and move their life to make sure their parents get everything they need, but for many of us, this is not always an option. It is also worth remembering that it is also not always necessary. Your parents will most likely want to keep their independence for as long as possible! But just knowing you are there if they need you can be all the help they need.
If this is a situation similar to yours, or someone you know, rest assured there are ways you can take care of your parents from afar without having to sacrifice the life you have built or infringe on your parents’ either. Read on to find out how you can be the favorite child with minimal effort.
Make a Plan
Benjamin Franklin once claimed, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”In many instances, this can be recognized as the truth. While we never know what the future holds for us, those lucky enough to age will also know it is unavoidable – this is where a plan can be useful. Aging affects everyone differently, so it can be difficult to accurately predict what you will need to do for your parents, but covering the basics is more than enough to get started.
Discuss Professional Support
There might come a time where you and your parents both feel that professional support might be beneficial. This does not have to mean full time, but it could be a couple of a hours a week or something consistent that can help out with the things you cannot do remotely, such as the laundry or the washing up! If your parents start to become in a position where they are struggling to take care of themselves significantly or develop age-related diseases that can induce further cognitive decline, it might be worth considering assisted living.
Some great assisted living companies offer quality care, such as Frontier Management, whichoffers different levels and options of assisted living to suit you and your loved ones so they can get the best out of life, and you do not have to worry.
Keep Products Stocked Up
It can be difficult for the elderly to go to the store at the best of times, let alone in a pandemic where their age makes them vulnerable. Luckily, many of us have the fortune of our retailers offering delivery, which means you can get all the essentials (and some treats) delivered straight to their door without having to even get off the couch.
Ask them what they need and what they use regularly and make a list you can keep coming back to, or they might mention in passing that they are running out of something, and you can quickly ‘add to basket’ with a touch of a button.
Consider products that might be helpful, too, such as pads, painkillers, and other daily items they might need that would not usually cross your mind.
Stay in Touch
One of the most important aspects of care is checking in. Many parents realize you have your own life to get on with, one which can be extremely busy with commitments left, right, and center, leaving little time for you even to have a nap for yourself! But taking that time out to check in on them even on the busiest of days can help put their mind at ease.
It is easy to say, “visit them when you can,” but that is not always a possibility for many reasons. This is why technology offers the best of both worlds. With plenty of online video chat platforms to choose from, we can keep in touch with our loved ones whenever we want to, wherever we want to. If you are not able to travel for whatever reason, then being able to see them still and talk to them offers them some comfort while also creating minimal stress for your own life – which is just as important!
Be Prepared for Emergencies
While this should also go under planning ahead, it deserves a separate category of its own as emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, and you will need to know what you can do to help as soon as possible. It is good to have some emergency contacts on hand that are close to your parents if something has happened that does not warrant the emergency services, so you and your parents both have someone you trust to help. Make sure to have a developed plan with them, too, for if a situation like this arises.
On the other hand, depending on what has happened, it is likely you will want to be able to visit and help yourself, which means having travel plans, money set aside, and emergency contacts of your own will help you.
Evaluate What You Can Do
While you are worried about taking care of your parents and helping them from a distance, another crucial point that needs to be considered is what you can do. The worst thing you can do is pile a bunch of responsibility on yourself that you will not be able to manage, which will only make you feel worse. Remember, you are one person, and you have your own life too, so set boundaries and be gentle with yourself, and remind yourself regularly you can only do what you can, and that is enough.