Statistics clearly point out the leaning towards an aging population and coping with elder care and loneliness will become a concern for many of us at some stage in our adult years. Possibly a phone call from a anxious relative or neighbor will force us to confront our parent's changing condition and our own accountability for helping them.
These days so many women work or lead active lives away from the home and support is not offered to elderly neighbours, by the running of errands and chatting, as it used to be.
If your parent's is suffering from loneliness, either because of loss of a loved one, or moving away from friends, the first thing you must do is talk to them about their needs. Its possible they are anxious, fear losing independence and are unsure what the future holds. Reassure where you can and discuss what else you may be able to do to help.
Also, you can ask friends to call, but keep in mind, simple, practical things like fitting a phone with an amplifier. Perhaps your parent could initiate a friendship by taking in parcels or deliveries, or baby sit occasionally for a young working mum.
What about a pet? Animals can provide an elderly person with loyalty, companionship and love and need looking after. We all know the value of having something or someone being dependent on us feeling needed. Considerable thought will need to be given to the type of pet according to how much care and attention it will need and the weekly costs. Charitable institutions like Help-the-Aged have a free information sheet on pets to help you and your parent make a choice.
If you have relatives or siblings ask for their support, just what can they do to help as well. Find out what the community can provide in the way of hot lines, transportation, meals-on-wheels, and community center activities. A day center, class or club where they can meet like-minded people or perhaps helping out for a few hours in a local charity shop. The church may run social clubs or coffee mornings. The church can also provide an opportunity for you parent to make an important contribution to the community and there's no age limit here.
There are usually local schemes whereby the young and the old learn together, school base activities involving numeracy, history and literacy or working with children in hospitals.
Cherish the time you have together and remember engaging with older parents can be hugely rewarding for you as well, and maybe an extra visit or two from you each week will give you both greater insight into who you are and uplift you both.
Crantock Lodge Residential Home:- Crantock Lodge offers residential, respite and day care for the elderly. Situated in Newquay, Cornwall, in the south west of England. It offer 10 rooms - 5 of which have sea views.
-- Rosemarie Glanville
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