Statistics show that people are living longer and longer. The age that people live to has grown dramatically in the past 20 years. Because people are living longer there is usually greater need for assistance as we age. In the majority of households the assistance that seniors receive usually comes from their children.
In many families seniors never imagined that they might need assistance from the children. Likewise, many children of aging parents never thought that they would be assisting their parents as they age. Sometimes, this children assisting parent role reversal can lead to conflicts for the children and the parents. Because of this, many children want to know how to deal with aging parents.
There are six (6) key steps to follow on how to deal with aging parents:
1. You should prepare yourself and your family for the undertaking. Even though this is your parent, it is like including another from member of the family in a significant way. Your spouse and your children should be aware of what you plan to do. There will be less resistance or conflict if everyone knows the plan. If you can get your spouse or children to actively participate that is even better.
2. Remember that you are at a different stage in life than your parent. For most of us, development does not stop once we reach adulthood. You are not the same person you were when you were 21. Your parent is not the same person they were when they were your age.
3. Try to look at their concerns from their perspective. Respect their desire for control and regularity. None of us are comfortable with change and this is even truer with seniors. Remember that the only thing worse than change, is change that you have no control over. Be sure to make your parents feel that they still have some control over their life.
4. Try to help your parent maintain the highest level of independence for as long as possible. The level of independence you start with will depend on the unique situation of your family. Don't be afraid to include assistance and decrease the level of independence if necessary.
5. Have a management plan for the essentials like money management; bills; health plans; and any necessary equipment or modifications.
6. Most importantly, help your parent maintain as good of health as possible. No one will live forever, but there are things we can do to help maintain our health as long as possible. Studies show that this factor, more than any other, can make the greatest difference in the quality of life of your aging parent. It is this last point that most children of aging parents seem to have the most difficulty with. For assistance with how to deal with an aging parent, I recommend consulting a Health Concierge. A Health Concierge is a professional that is expert in decisions about how to deal with aging parents.
By S. Brian Lindsay
Dr. Lindsay has more than 18 years of clinical practice experience and reviews new health products and services. For more information about a Health Concierge or a Free Consultation, go to Health Virtual Assistant Concierge
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