As our parents get older, they may need more help to live a happy and healthy life. As their children, we want to do everything we can to help them make the most out of life, but it can sometimes be difficult to do that without coming across as bossy or taking over the parenting role from them, which often does not go down well.
If you really want to help your aging parents, then, it is really important that you learn how to offer help and support without telling them what to do. Here are a few tips that can help you with that:
- Let them do things
It can be really tempting to start doing things for your parent when they find it difficult to do them for themselves, but this is not always a good idea. The old adage that you use it or you lose it really can be true and the more your parents can do for themselves the better.
Even older people who reside in assisted living facilities are encouraged to try doing things for themselves and caregivers will only step in when asked or when it is clear the older person simply cannot do something for themselves.
So, absolutely be there to help, but don’t take over and start doing everything from the laundry to cooking for your aging parents unless they really cannot manage it.
- Ask them if you can help
That being said, if it does look like your parents do need help, you may need to step in. However, you should not simply start taking over. Talk to your parents, mention you have noticed they are finding X you, and ask them if they would like you to help.
If they are reluctant to admit they are struggling, then try to talk about how much you love doing X and would they like to do it with you. This can make it seem a bit more like they are doing you a favor and less like them admitting they need help, it is more acceptable for some mire independent older people, but obviously, it won’t work for things like washing and toileting which obviously you can’t pretend is something you desperately want to do for them, which brings us to…
- Hire a carer
Although you may be more than willing to help, many parents do not want to have their child help them with personal issues like intimate care because they do not want to change the parent-child dynamic or because they are too proud. You should respect this and do what you can to help them have their needs met. Hiring a carer, with their permission is often a good way to do this as they are a neutral third-party being paid for s service.
- Be respectful
Your parents are your parents no matter how much they are struggling and you should respect them. Don’t make decisions for them or leave them out of care plans – talk things through, listen patiently and come up with a solution that works for you all.
Taking care of an aging parent can be tough but if you avoid steamrollering them or patronizing them, it is likely to be a lot easier for you all.