The whole circle-of-life concept means that at some stage many of us will need to assist our parents as they get older. Here are some tips that might help if you currently have elderly parents.
Conversations about future aged care needs
How do you start a conversation with your parents about aged care? It can be a subject nobody wants to face so we tend to leave it for another day. The trouble with holding off is it’s not just one conversation that you’ll need to have, the reality is unless urgent decisions are to be made, it’s likely you will need to have a series of talks before decisions come about. Our advice is to do your homework before you begin the conversation. What concerns do you have, write them down. Does their home have too many trip hazards, are they taking their medication regularly, are they able to get to appointments or pay their bills on time, or at all?
We recommend you educate yourself on the options available in their local area. When you do this, don’t just consider their health status now, think about what options they may need if their mobility diminishes, affecting their ability to cook, clean, shower even or if their medical needs increase and they need specialist nursing care to come to them. Once you know there are options out there, discuss them with your parents but don’t rush them. Although you might be ready to make a decision, they may not. Ask how you can help make planning for their future easier. Perhaps you can make phone calls on their behalf, be there if care providers come to the home to discuss options or make appointments and take them to visit potential retirement living villages or nursing homes. This is a process that everyone can get involved in.
When researching their available options, consider the benefits of staying at home – perhaps your parents qualify for a home care package or another form of government home support, versus moving into a retirement living village, which can offer seniors a friendly secure home with access to a like-minded community. Or should there be a need for full-time care, a nursing home. These are tough decisions to make, but your help can make all the difference to your parent’s ongoing quality of life as they age.
Activities for your elderly parents
How can you best help them to stay mentally and physically active as they age? A mixture of fun activities with eating healthy, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting the sleep we need is exactly what the doctor calls for and is generally a winning combination. However, sometimes we begin to run out of ideas for things to do with our elderly parents and loved ones. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when the next opportunity comes around:
For Rainy Days or a Quiet Afternoon Indoors
Sometimes the simple pleasure of playing favourite games can be a fun thing to do with your elderly parents. Do a crossword or jigsaw puzzle with them whenever you can, or play a game of cards.
How about giving painting a try? Watercolours are popular and easy to use. There are also things which you can do to prepare for your next sunny day outside, such as painting flower pots together for their doorstep. You could even start on those Christmas gifts by painting tree ornaments. The possibilities are endless. Have you ever wanted to learn a new language? It’s a great opportunity to keep our minds engaged. How exciting would it be for you and your mum or dad to be able to talk together in a foreign tongue? There are simple applications which you can use together to learn from beginning to advanced, in multiple languages, if it’s difficult to make it to professional classes.
What About the Sunny Days?
On those sunny days when you’d like to do something different, why not look to your community. Getting outdoors is a great way to be stimulated, keep muscles strong, and emotions engaged.
Pack a picnic lunch and go to your local park, a museum, or your local library. Another idea is to join a walking group together, mobility permitting. Getting fresh air and exercise by walking increases lung capacity, circulation, and overall respiratory health – even if it’s only for ten minutes! Lastly, most of us enjoy a beautiful garden. Take your time and plant some seeds in the ground, or just admire the beauty of the flowers together.
If you are wanting to know more about how our aged care services, including our Day Therapy Centres, can support your ageing parents or yourself, give our friendly team a call today on 1800 733 553.