15 Ways To Help Your Elderly Parents
Caring for ageing parents can be as simple as just spending quality time with them, Most of us are at that stage in our lives where we have elderly family members and they need a little help from time to time. They cannot do the same things anymore like when they were 10-20 years younger. Heck, I can’t do the same things as when I was five years younger. Lol!!
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We need to keep an eye on our elderly parents. If they live on their own, perhaps you could do one of the following.
Ways to help your parents
- Mow the lawn for them (I’m sure the grandkids could do that if old enough)
- Do some light cleaning of the house for them
- Better yet – hire a maid service to come to the house (I know I could use one for myself) lol
- Clean/straighten out the garage
- Shovel the snow in the driveway
- Clean out the eavestrough
- Do some landscaping in the spring
- Help with the gardening
- Just go over to keep them company (play cards, talk over a cup of coffee, play some games, etc.0
- Make them dinner once in a while
- Make sure they go to the doctor regularly
- Take them to the doctor – make time whenever they need
- Drive them to the grocery store
- Treat them to dinner once in a while with your family
- If they drive, make sure they have the car looked at regularly (or take it in yourself)
The list can go on and on. Bottom line: Be There For Your Parents. They were there for the first part of your life. Now it’s payback time.
When my father was diagnosed with cancer, it was an unbelievable blow to the family. I didn’t want to believe it. When you hear cancer, you know that death is around the corner.
It only took 6 months before he deteriorated and then at only 70 years old, he passed away. We were all helpless. It all happened so fast. Like a punch in the gut. It still hurts. Even 15 years later, I still feel such a loss.
How can one prepare for something like this? No one knows when it will be our turn. But we know it will eventually come. So, we need to make sure that it’s far off in the distant future. We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our ageing parents. Check out my post here to learn more.
Taking Care Of Ourselves
- Regular doctor checkups, physicals, etc.
- Regular dentist checkups
- Join a gym
- If you have a gym in your home (even better) – workout regularly – light cardio & weights
- Go for walks with your spouse and/or kids
- When you do housework inside or outside: make a point of stretching further than you must. Stretch those muscles.
My grandmother (my father’s mother) outlived her own son. How is that possible? How is that fair. She was 93 years old when her son (my dad) died. She was a very strong woman. She lived through so many hardships in her life. And even outlived her only son.
Her grief and her weak heart ended her life a year later. She was a vitally, strong woman for her age.
My mom took care of my dad at home, since there was nothing more doctors could do. It put a toll on her. Then when he passed, my mom continued to care for my grandmother. How much more can a woman endure?
bereavement (living without your loved ones)
Well, when my father and grandmother both passed away, my mom shut down and she too began to deteriorate. The whole family jumped in to pull her back. My mom put up quite a fight. She pretty much wanted to join my father. She stopped eating. Her body was literally dying. She was dying on the inside and out. She couldn’t cope.
Because of this lack of proper nutrition, my mom’s liver started to fail and she developed diabetes. Her father had diabetes. Diabetes is very serious. And at first, she didn’t want to take it seriously. But when she started to get a little better healthwise and emotionally, my mom took her diabetes very seriously and was on a strict regimen of daily injections and being careful of what she ate.
With the strength of her family, we pushed to get her into a senior citizen’s home where she could be cared for. She was only in her early 60’s. She was too young to be in a place like that. But it saved her life.
You need to be aware of your parents’ capabilities as well as inabilities. You need to keep a close eye on them no matter what they do or say. Do not take their word for it that they are ok. They just don’t want to inconvenience their family. Yes, that’s silly. Of course, they are not an inconvenience.
keeping a watchful eye from far away
Even if they are a “million” miles away in Europe, you must take care of your parents. My in-laws live in Croatia and we manage to do our best to take care of them. That’s why we are going annually now to visit.
Recently, my father-in-law has been doing some really “silly” things (to say it mildly but I would like to use some inappropriate language, but I won’t).
He is 89 years old and thinks he can do the same things as he was able to do 10-20 years ago. Nah uh!! He’s a tough cookie but not that tough or fast. He tried to get across a busy street on foot. What do you think the outcome was? He was knocked down by a vehicle. By my understanding, he was sideswiped. Enough to get banged up, bruised up black and blue and broke some ribs. Jeeze. That could have been avoided.
Another time, not too long after this incident, he was on his damn Vespa without a helmet. Yes kids, without a helmet. Big no-no. If my father-in-law knew one of his grandkids did that, what do you think would have happened to that Vespa/scooter? It would have been gone for good.
So, when we visited this past summer, what do you think my husband did with my father-in-law’s vespa/scooter? Gone dude. No more. If it takes tough love, so be it.
When our parents get older in age, they get more stubborn. Jeeze. We weren’t like this as kids, were we? I have witnessed it so many times.
I think my father-in-law finally learned that he has to take it slow from now on. I hope. He was in the hospital this summer before we came. My husband thought this is it. This is the end of his father. But he is doing remarkably well. My husband had a stern talk with him (probably more than once before he truly listened. And it was probably more than “stern”)
keeping track of their medical history
My husband went to Croatia ahead of us and brought my father-in-law home from the hospital very weak and frail with a whole bushel full of medication. My husband went to his father’s doctor to learn what all his medication was for. He wanted to know how and when his father is to take all this medication. He had at least 11 different medications to take.
It got me thinking, “how is he going to keep track of all these medications”. So, I created an easy to follow spreadsheet of all his medications: when to take them, time of day to take them, with meal, dosage, etc.
After following this regimen, my father-in-law is doing amazingly well. He has gained a lot more weight, regained his colour in his face and has gained back most of his strength. We didn’t think the outcome would be such a happy one when we first saw him. He was very frail, weak and could barely move and was very dizzy on many occasions.
I want to share this spreadsheet with all of you right here along with some other schedules that you could use for parent’s well-being:
with the help of family and loved ones
If our family did not intervene, we would have lost my mother years ago. And how senseless would that have been? We had her for a good 10 years more when the doctors at a big city hospital told us that she wouldn’t last the year.
God Bless her . . . she passed away 2 years ago from a totally unrelated and undetected issue she had for who knows how long. But she fought to stay alive ‘til her dying day.
She finally realized that she had plenty more to live for after losing my dad . . . her family. And we fought alongside her. Never giving up on her. She too was only 73 years old. The only bright side is that she is with my dad.
If there is one thing, I want you to take away from this is to realize that life is too precious. Do not take anyone for granted. Make sure that your children have their grandparents in their lives for as long as possible. Mine were way too young when they lost both of theirs. My 16-year-old daughter doesn’t even remember her grandfather.
Take care of your ageing parents as much as you can. Go out of your way today to tell them just how much you love them and need them in your lives. Make them feel wanted and by all means, needed.