Most children want the absolute best for their old parents, and they are often riddled with guilt because they feel they could do more for them.
But you should know that your intentions are good enough, and if you truly care about your parents, they will feel it and will appreciate every effort you make.
With that being said, there are some concrete things you can do as a child to ensure their emotional, physical, and economic needs are met.
Everything starts with being attentive and seeing where their most pressing needs are. Let’s look at a few ways to improve the quality of life of older parents.
7 Crucial Ways to Improve the Quality of Life of Older Parents
1. Make Sure that they Feel Loved and Needed
One of the things that affect older parents the most is the feeling that they are not needed anymore. And the best way to make them feel like that is by infantilizing them. This is why you need to allow them to connect with you and your family and even consider giving them a role in raising your children.
Most grandparents love spending time with their grandkids for this reason. They feel like they still have a hand in raising their family, and that could literally add some years to their lives. So, if you need some alone time and can’t find someone to take care of your kids, don’t assume that you’ll be bothering your parents by asking.
Another thing you should do is broach the subject of senior living with them. Refrain from assuming that they will be offended by the idea too, especially if they’re living at home alone. People have a lot of unfounded prejudice about retirement homes, but they could be perfect for a senior that is lacking an active social life.
Find a retirement home that aligns with their lifestyle or their beliefs. If they’re devout Catholics, for instance, there are communities like St. Anne’s Retirement Community that will allow them to be close to their parish and not have to drive long distances. They will also love being around people of the same faith.
There are other communities that focus more on staying active or others that focus mainly on offering residents a luxurious environment they can live in without too many restrictions. So, look at a few communities where you live, and consider visiting a few different ones with them.
Another option would be to have them live with you, but you have to ensure that you are ready to welcome them in. Not all seniors love this idea either since they may feel like they will be cramping your family’s style. So, first, ask them, and then your family about the idea and see how they react.
You could also consider getting a multi-unit property and having them live in one of the apartments. This is a good option if you are considering investing in real estate as it will give you more possible streams of revenue. And don’t feel bad for collecting rent from them either. As a matter of fact, they might insist on it.
Another thing you have to do is always be on the lookout for signs of depression. Seniors will often try to hide them to not feel like they’re bothering you, so you will have to be very careful when talking to them and try to gauge their reactions. If you notice that the tone of their voice changes when you’re talking on the phone or they always seem to be tired when they used to be very vibrant, this is one of the clear signs that something isn’t right.
If you suspect that they have issues, speak about getting professional help with them. A therapist could help get to the bottom of the problem and find solutions to them. They might also offer medication that could balance the chemical imbalances many seniors suffer from.
If you notice that your parents are isolated, then you have to start looking at clubs and activities they could participate in. Another thing you should look at is volunteering opportunities. They might not be aware of opportunities around them, and this could broaden their horizons.
Volunteering is something you should pay extra attention to as it could help them fill them with the sense of purpose we talked about earlier. Don’t only look for volunteering opportunities for senior causes, either. Sit down with them and look at some of the causes they care about first. This will help you find volunteering opportunities that align with your passions.
Another thing we suggest you do is to look at classes in your area. These could be fitness classes or art classes. This could help them discover new talents and interests, stay healthy, and connect with new people all at once.
If your parents are pet lovers, the other thing you could consider is getting them a pet of their choice. If they like dogs, try to get them a breed of dog they actually like. Several studies have found that having a pet can help relieve symptoms of anxiety and alleviate depression. A pet, depending on the type you get, can also increase your level of security.
It’s also very important that you look at their diet and see if they are making healthy choices. Older adults cannot afford to eat like teenagers and having a sound diet will improve their mood while reducing the chances that they come down with a serious disease. So, look at what they’re eating, and consider either cooking or grocery shopping for them. You could also get them a meal kit membership with a service that specializes in healthy food.
If you have older parents and you want them to enjoy their twilight years to the fullest, follow these few tips. This could get them a second lease on life, and they will be forever thankful for your help.