Whenever someone requires assistance, there is usually the temptation to do the task for them rather than show them how to do it themselves. This may be because you’ll accomplish tasks faster, and the results will likely come out exactly how you pictured them. Rendering assistance in this way may be acceptable if you are teaching a younger person, but it may not be the best approach for caregiving. Parents may prefer you lend them a helping hand or simply supervise them while they accomplish the tasks they wish to carry out themselves. Whenever you take over rather than provide guidance, it softly reminds them of their inabilities, which most likely is due to their age.
Acknowledging that you have to depend on other people for things you would normally do yourself is not the easiest thing, especially for the elderly. That’s why showing empathy while rendering assistance can help manage the senior’s fears of being micromanaged and improve your relationship. There are simple ways to help your aging parents live their best lives without going beyond their boundaries.
1. Learn to Work Alongside Your Parents
Aging, most times, comes with a decline in physical and sometimes mental functioning. Your aim is to help your parents hold out their independence rather than encourage them to always depend on you. Allow them to take the lead while doing tasks instead of taking over.
This may not be the fastest way to accomplish tasks, but it helps your parents retain their functional abilities and maintain their self-esteem. You will be providing them with great service when you allow them to choose when and how they need your help. In your attempt to render assistance, try not to go beyond the particular activity they asked for help with.
2. Show Respect
It’s important to always ask permission from your parents before you jump in to take action regarding things pertaining to their lives. Though they may be frail, they are not children, and they deserve respect and dignity from you as your parents. The tone of your voice when addressing them or even your body language can show them if you are demeaning or that you genuinely care about them.
Bear in mind that your help will be resisted if your parents perceive that you are controlling, and this will frustrate your desire to help them live their best. Knowing that someone listens to and cares for them is really important to many elderly persons.
3. Set up a Support System
Some parents may be eager to ask for assistance or even accept help when offered. But, it is best to set up a support system for them that ensures they are safe and reduces the frequency of your interference in their regular routines.
As your parents advance in age, the need for regular health checks cannot be over-emphasized. You should ensure that they can readily access healthcare when needed. Most hospitals use telehealth video conferencing to make it easy for their patients to reach them regardless of distance. With a simple one-time setup of the system, your parents can handle their medical needs without depending on you to always take them for appointments.
4. Encourage Them to Rediscover Themselves
There is a newness of life that can be gotten from discovering a new purpose. Most aging parents feel that they have lived their best years when in reality, they could live more fulfilling lives.
As young people, they focused on building their careers, houses, families, and more without exploring things that once excited them. These golden years may offer them the opportunity to discover new passions and hobbies or even hone a skill they hadn’t given much attention to. They can also use their free time to volunteer for a cause they are devoted to.
5. Help Them Stay Positive
The difficulties that come with aging may not allow your parents to see the positives of life. They may require someone outside of themselves to help them see the good that comes with every new day.
You can help your parents focus on what they can do rather than the physical or mental limitations they are experiencing with aging. The more they see that there are things they can still do, such as going on walks with friends and family and giving advice based on life experience, the more alive they’ll feel. If you have a family of your own, consider letting your parents participate in your children’s lives and attend special occasions such as graduations and football games.
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