It’s tough seeing our parents grow old, as it’s a bitter reminder that they won’t be around forever. And it’s hard watching them struggle, as with old age comes a variety of health problems that might require medical care and daily intervention.
Still, there is much you can do to support them, and we will detail some of the steps that you can take below. By following our suggestions, you might actually improve both their health and their lives, and this is good news for both you and them.
1: Stay in regular contact with your parents
Sure, you live a busy life, and you might have children of your own to look after. But never be too busy for your parents. By staying in touch with them, two things can happen. Firstly, you might improve your parent’s mental wellbeing, as having the opportunity to spend time with you and your family could lift their mood state. This is especially true if they have lost their significant other, as loneliness and depression often sets in when they start living alone. Secondly, the more time you spend with your parents, the more likely it is that you will be able to spot any signs of ill health within them. You can then take the necessary next steps to help them if you are worried, such as booking an appointment with their GP so you can discuss the way forward.
2: Use the latest technologies
There are all kinds of technologies that can be put in place to help your parents. There are now wearable bracelets and watches, for example, that can monitor the health of your parents, and they can send alerts to medical services and caregivers should their health take a turn for the worse or should they take a fall. FaceTime technology is useful for staying in touch, be it through an iPad or a computer webcam, so if you live some distance away, you and your parent will still have the means to stay in touch with one another. And with online services such as PushDoctor, your parent can easily get in touch with an NHS-trained GP on their laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Do your research online for these and other available technologies to better care for the needs of your parents.
3: Seek out support for your parents
If your parents do need specialist support, then you might need to find the help they need if they are unable or unwilling to acquire it themselves. As examples, you might research local befriending services, especially if your parent is living alone. They will match your parent up with a befriender with similar interests, and/or with a volunteer who will drop by regularly for a cup of tea and a natter. And if you have a parent with specific care needs, then you might need to find a live-in CQC accredited care provider who will offer 24-hour care and health support. This will give you peace of mind, and it will ensure that your parent will never be without the help they need. Speak to your parent’s GP or visit a representative of Age UK for further advice on the services available to meet the needs of your parents.
There is much you can do to care for the health of your elderly parents, so use our suggestions as the basis for some of the steps you need to take. And please let us know if you have any other advice for our readers, as this will be invaluable, especially if you have experienced the role of a caregiver yourself.