Taking care of elderly parents is rewarding and fulfilling but caring for aging parents can also feel confusing and overwhelming. So many aspects go into caregiving, from monitoring health conditions and taking care of daily needs to making major decisions like aging at-home or transitioning them into an assisted living facility.
As a caregiver for elderly parents, there are a few things you can do to help ease your parents’ aging process and maintain their quality of life.
This article will explore practical tips and ideas to help you navigate the next chapter in caring for your aging parents.
1. Discuss long-term plans.
You can’t predict the future, but long-term planning can help you make tough choices down the road. If your elderly parents are still making many of their own decisions, now is a good time to chat with them about their future wishes. You’ll want to address:
- Home healthcare vs. independent living facilities vs. nursing or assisted living facility
- Transportation options if/when they can no longer drive themselves
- Long-term medical care options
- End-of-life care options
- Wills or estate plans
While these conversations can be uncomfortable and challenging, they will also provide peace of mind for you and your elderly parents. Caring for aging parents should start as a conversation, so you and your loved ones can feel confident in your caregiving decisions moving forward.
2. Connect with your elderly parents regularly.
One of the most challenging parts of your parents aging is that you may start to build a different sort of relationship than you’ve had in the past. Your communications might start to focus more on taking care of elderly parents rather than familial or bonding interactions. To maintain your and your parents’ happiness, staying connected in ways beyond caretaking is essential.
Weekly phone calls or video chats for remote caregivers, scheduled weekly or monthly visits, or planning fun activities together can help build your bond. Staying connected is an important part of maintaining the relationship that’s so meaningful to you and your parent while also helping to prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation that are common in older adults.
Moreover, consistent communication will give you opportunities to check on their well-being and catch any potential health or social concerns before they become more serious.
3. Keep up with their medical care.
Many senior citizens start to avoid their doctor’s appointments. Some may forget to schedule them, while others purposefully don’t go to avoid hearing any upsetting news. Keeping up with your loved one’s medical care is essential to caring for aging parents. You’ll want to ensure they have regular check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings and help coordinate any specialized care they may require, like a cardiologist, neurologist, or geriatrician.
You may want also to start attending some or all of their appointments. This will help ensure they don’t forget to discuss symptoms with their doctor, and you can hear and understand the doctor’s recommended treatment plans.
Along with doctor’s appointments, you may want to help your loved one navigate health insurance, medical bills, and medication tracking. If you’re unsure how much or little you should be involved in your parents’ aging care plan, chat privately with their doctors to see how you can best support your elderly parents.
4. Encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Helping to maintain a healthy lifestyle is a critical part of caring for aging parents. This includes encouraging exercise and promoting nutritious eating habits. Here are some tips for managing your elderly parents’ wellness plan:
- Consider hiring a geriatric fitness trainer and/or nutritionist
- Go for walks with your loved one
- Offer to bring your parent to exercise classes, like chair yoga or strength training
- Help your parent get healthy groceries delivered right to their door with GoGoGroceries
- Give your elderly parents some recipe ideas with these 6 easy breakfast ideas and these 5 go-to lunch ideas
- If your loved one doesn’t like to cook, use GoGo Gourmet for takeout delivery with healthy meals that are tailored to their unique dietary needs
- Talk to their doctor about their recommended health and fitness plan
5. Consider home modifications.
Over time, your elderly parents’ accessibility and health needs will change. Depending on their current and projected health, you may want to help them make home modifications to make their residence safer. Caring for elderly parents with just a few home modifications is an easy way to dramatically improve their well-being and give you peace of mind. Check out these 12 easy, inexpensive senior home modifications to get started.
If you are a remote caregiver or can’t handle these home modifications yourself, consider hiring a handyman through GoGoGrandparent. Our GoGoGuardians screen thousands of professionals to ensure the handymen going into your elderly parents’ home are safe, reliable, and kind.
6. Provide transportation.
A common aspect of caring for aging parents is offering them rides if they can no longer safely drive themselves. But most caretakers cannot be available full-time to drive their parents to all their appointments, social events, and more. Check out these five common alternatives to driving that can help in taking care of elderly parents who can no longer drive.
One of the easiest ways to provide transportation for your elderly parents is with GoGoGrandparent. Your parent just telephones our friendly operator, and we arrange reliable, safe, vetted rides for seniors around the clock. You and your parents will have access to these rides, and our Family Dashboard will allow you to keep an eye on their location to ensure their safety. Learn more about GoGo Rides here.
Are you trying to figure out how to talk to your elderly parents about giving up the car? Learn how to navigate this tough conversation here.
7. Seek professional help.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused with all the changes and responsibilities of caring for elderly parents, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. You can contact medical doctors, geriatric care managers, social workers, home health aides, therapists, and government and local senior services.
Caring for aging parents can be a big transition, so don’t do it alone. Use GoGoGrandparent as an extension of your care team to ensure your elderly parents are well cared for every step of their aging journey. Register here to get started.