We all want to live long and healthy lives! As adults, we desire to do all we can to help our parents age well and gracefully. This may be going along beautifully until a health crisis or some other stressful event happens. What to do next? How do we give our aging parents the control they need to continue to feel independent while still stepping into the role of helper or caregiver? Read on.
Keeping Your Parents Empowered
1. Encourage Them Not to Be Afraid of Change
The “golden years” are usually the age between 65-80 when seniors are settling down from the responsibilities of parenting, keeping up a house and career, and moving into retirement. Of course, when savings are plentiful and seniors are healthy, these years can be truly some of the best! However, there are many seniors who do not have such a golden time as they age. Many believe their best years have passed already and this can lead to loneliness or depression. Encouraging your aging parents to find a new purpose for getting up each day can be the best medicine of all!
Remember that retirement doesn’t have to feel like one steady decline in health and happiness! If you notice your parents slipping into feeling like they have no purpose or joy, intervene by helping them rediscover what they love and even find new things to explore!
2. Help Them Think Differently About the Aging Process
It’s true that much of the aging process is all in our mindset! If you find your parents struggling to keep up with the grandkids or do the therapy exercises they have been prescribed, perhaps you can encourage them to look at the benefits of aging, rather than the pitfalls. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what they have always loved to do in younger years!
A few questions you might ask could be:
• What were your favorite hobbies or pastimes? Would you like to pick it up again?
• If you could learn a new skill, what would interest you most?
These kinds of questions can start the ball rolling for good conversation! Asking your parents about their childhood stories, their own parents and legacy, and how they managed to raise a family of their own can be very meaningful conversation starters and will bring you closer together as a family!
3. Focus on What They Can Do, Not What They Can’t
This goes for people of all ages! Nobody likes to focus on the negative all the time. Instead of getting trapped what the limitations are, encourage your parents to see the good in their current season of life! They might not have the physical stamina they once possessed, but the wealth of knowledge and wisdom is far-reaching and very powerful for the entire family!
Ask your senior loved ones to engage with you in daily tasks. Whether it’s preparing a meal together or taking the kids to ball practice, they might be surprised at what they can still enjoy doing in our fast-paced world!
Aging can be tough but there is no reason to stop living just because we’re getting older! If you find your parents feeling like they don’t have significance any longer, don’t be afraid to talk about it with them. If you notice deeper signs of depression such as not eating or sleeping too much or too little, talk to their doctor right away!
Above all else, know that your encouragement will mean the world and is often the best medicine of all. For more information on helping seniors stay young at heart, contact us today!
Home Helpers of Bourbonnais is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, 24-hour live-in care, Alzheimer's & dementia care, Parkinson's care as well as homemaker services in Bourbonnais, Kankakee, Bradley, Manteno, Momence, Herscher, Watseka, Dwight, Braidwood, and Wilmington, Illinois.
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