Offering help to your parents as they age can be a challenge; in particular, if you find yourself doing far more for your folks than ever before, it can leave them feeling like they’re losing their independence. Meanwhile, you’re left balancing emotional sensitivities as you keep your parents, their home and their finances secure.
All of this comes with a natural push-and-pull dynamic your parents will establish boundaries while you figure out how, where, and when to help. So, it’s good to remember that one of the most important parts of working with aging parents is allowing them to remain as independent as possible.
Here are some ways you can do this naturally and effectively.
1. Support Your Parents by Setting Goals
Goals and tasks are a part of everyday life for most adults, and they help drive us to success. This sentiment is no different for seniors. Implementing attainable goals is instrumental in supporting parents as they age.
Setting goals for an aging parent at home can be as simple as challenging them with a walk to the end of the driveway and back, or to do five minutes of physiotherapy. Meeting a goal typically brings a feeling of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, and this is no different for seniors who are struggling with physical or cognitive challenges.
That said, aging can bring limitations that make some goals less attainable. If daily acts are becoming increasingly difficult for your parents, personalized at-home care services are available from providers like Integracare Home Care; these organizations offer compassionate, quality at-home care for seniors who need extra assistance, allowing them to age joyfully at home.
2. Encourage Contributions
When in the company of your parents, it’s all too easy to decide what meal to make them for dinner, what time bus to catch to a doctor’s appointment, or to bottle up a relationship concern instead of seeking advice, this is often because we’re in a rush or that we’re focused on the immediate task at hand. However, reaching out to your parents for their insight and assistance can be more valuable for them than you may expect.
Encouraging their contribution to both small and significant decisions not only help seniors retain their feeling of independence but helps maintain their sense of self-worth. Their self-confidence will also be buoyed by the affirmation that their opinions, insight, and wisdom matter.
3. Remember That They’re an Individual
It’s important to remember that our parents have lived a life full of personality-forming and situation-shaping experiences. It’s crucial not to discount or discredit these moments; by encouraging your parents to talk about past jobs, homes, romances, and friends, you’re helping them to retain their sense of relevance and identity.
4. Don’t Shy Away from Technology
In certain situations, technology can help seniors maintain their sense of independence. While the thought of technology can feel daunting (for younger generations and seniors alike!),it’s important to quell any feelings of uneasiness by selecting technology wisely so that it doesn’t immediately lead to dismay or feelings of inadequacy.
Video calling is a great option depending on your parent’s comfort level. It’s a fantastic way for seniors to keep in touch with friends and family near and far. You could also consider getting a digital photo frame which the family can upload photos to from afar — photos can help trigger joyful, positive memories and emotions.
Successfully using technology can not only bridge a disconnect with relations from farther afield, but it may also boost confidence levels and their independence.
By implementing these measures, you’ll be allowing your parents to remain as independent as possible, keeping a balanced, positive relationship moving forward. Gentle encouragement and inclusive practices will help your parents feel both respected and valued at any age.