Aging can sneak up on us and often go unnoticed, especially if it concerns loved ones such as our parents. Unfortunately, the changes in body and mind can gradually happen that we can sometimes miss the signs that our aging parents are displaying. If you have been more aware that they require more help lately, then here is what you need to do when caring for aging parents.
Making sure bills go out promptly is important to take care of. A diplomatic approach to take is offering to write their bills when caring for aging parents. The excuse for taking over handling their bills can be because you know you have better handwriting or to save them pain due to their arthritis. It also helps to stay ahead of the situation by keeping a notebook with payments that need to paid monthly, passwords, account numbers as well as medical records.
Chores such as cleaning house, driving to the doctor, grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, and places like visiting the barber and a hair salon can also be taking a toll on them. Therefore, you can suggest that you have extra time to help with those things such as the cleaning and shopping. Another thoughtful way is to say that you would love to have the company since you also plan on going grocery shopping or to visiting another such location.
Though your parents may love to be in their homes, you may want to ask them if they think it may be time to move because the driveway may be too long, too much grass to cut or too many stairs to climb with their bad knees to something like the bathroom needs remolding with handrails to grab onto when they are having a time with their balance.
You could always invite them to live in your house. If you don’t have room, you can suggest there is room to build on. They may even protest at the idea so not to disrupt your lifestyle, but remind them that family cares for family in good times as well as bad.
Here are two stories about caring for aging parents that I want to share. My grandmother used to say one mother could take care of 12 children, but 12 children could not take care of one mother, which is sad when you come to think of it. The second story involved a man that was carving a wooden bowl for his old father because he kept breaking dinner plates. When his young son saw him carving, he grabbed some wood for himself. After the father noticed, he asked his boy what he was doing. The son responded that he is making him a bowl for when he gets old too.
This is also a good time to ask them if they have drawn up a will. Without being direct, you can say that you just made up one for your husband and yourself. Ask them if they thought of writing a will yet too?
Some people believe that caring for aging parents is a burden. I feel differently. Caring for them is the least we can do with all they have done in the past as we grew up and continue to do for us. Spending time and every day with them is a gift that some people take for granted. Maybe your circumstances give you a different prospective, but hopefully not.