First, Dad needed help monitoring his daily medications. Soon, he needed regular at-home care. If you are taking care of elderly parents, you understand the tough sacrifices and rewards of helping your aging parent with daily routines such as bathing, cooking, washing laundry, or making medical and financial decisions. Yet, witho
Life gets busy, particularly for adult children in the sandwich generation who are taking care of elderly parents and raising children. Yet, there are few things more critical for your elderly parents than getting face time with their children and grandchildren.
When life gets busy, you need to eat anyway, right? Throw together a dinner that travels well—a casserole, turkey bun sandwiches and chips, sloppy joes—and eat with grandma and grandpa. If you prefer not to do the meal preparation yourself, grab deli chicken on the way, Subway, or a couple of pizzas. Bring along some paper plates and plastic utensils, and you’ve made for very easy clean-up.
A quick meal, a little visiting, and you can be on your way to whatever duty calls you. It’ll mean the world to your elderly parents.
2. Call to see how they are doing.
Set a reminder on your phone to regularly check in on your parents. Whether you live 5 miles away or across the country, take the time to call and ask how they are doing.
For your whole life, their focus has been on you, so it’s not always easy to transition into asking how their day went or what is new with them. Take the time to ask questions and follow-up questions. A little chit chat goes a long way to brightening their day.
3. Ask for advice or instruction.
You spent your whole young life asking questions of Mom and Dad about dating, car problems, and math homework. Somewhere along the way, you became self-sufficient. Now that your parents are aging, it’s a good time to become a little less self-sufficient.
Everyone needs to feel valued and that they are helping others. Take time to ask your elderly parents for advice or instruction. Ask for advice on making a recipe, how to repair something, for directions from one place to the next. Tap into their skill set and rely on them to help you with something within their realm of expertise.
Even if your elderly parents are able to keep up their home, those seasonal tasks can prove very difficult for them. These are also the tasks that can build up over time and become very difficult to do later on. Make time to come over and help with challenging seasonal tasks, like cleaning out the garage, washing windows, or washing walls. If you live out of state, arrange for a family friend to stop by on a Saturday or Sunday. If needed, pay them without your parents knowing so that they are more likely to accept the help.
5. Go out for lunch or dessert.
Something as simple as a quick lunch or a stop for dessert can mean the world to seniors who spend most days at home. Just getting out of the house can be more critical than whatever the actual food item is. Even something as quick as a Culver’s lunch or a Dairy Queen ice cream cone helps break the monotony for elderly parents living at home and helps prevent loneliness.
Carol Hauser, M.A.
September 11, 2014
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