Adult Kids as Caregivers: Keeping Aging Parents Healthy and Engaged

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These days, more seniors are refusing to go to a senior home. They would rather age in place or be with their adult kids and grandchildren and spend their remaining time with their loved ones. But as we grow older, we start to lose independence. It becomes difficult to make sound decisions, take care of the house, or even tackle activities of daily living at ease. These reasons seal the deal for their adult kids to keep them at home for as long as possible.

Your parent’s health is your main priority. But then, it can be hard to keep an eye on them 24/7 when you too have other responsibilities on your plate. You might have a family to take care of and provide their needs for, a job to go to, and a personal life to enjoy.

The good news is, even primary caregivers can take a break as needed and still make sure that their senior parents are healthy and engaged. One might need to make a few adjustments and hire professional services. But all these will be worth it since you get to ensure their health and wellbeing.

Determine What Kind of Care They Need

Some seniors are capable of taking care of themselves without much help. They may only require someone to drive them to appointments, drop a few mails, or run errands such as grocery shopping. But they may still be able to bathe and dress, cook their own meals, or even take care of their pets.

Other older adults will require total care. They can no longer tackle activities of daily living. They might need assistance when moving and can no longer make sound decisions for themselves.

Knowing the kind and amount of care your senior parent needs will give you an idea if you will require the help of a pro or not. If they have a medical condition and have deteriorating health, you will need to hire expert healthcare services. For example, people with dementia require expert care as they can put themselves in danger due to their progressing disease.

Once you find out the kind and amount of care they need, don’t hesitate to hire the professionals. There is no point in trying to provide all the care by yourself especially if this can harm your own health. Taking on too many responsibilities can impact your physical and mental health, which won’t help in keeping your loved one healthy.

family playing jenga

Invite Them to Engage in Activities With Family and Friends

Most seniors keep themselves isolated because they know how busy their loved ones are. Making time to go out and have fun with them is the best way to keep them happy, healthy, and engaged. You just need to find safe activities you will both enjoy.

For instance, they haven’t seen their old friends for the longest time. You can choose to invite their friends over, plan a meet-up at their favorite restaurant, or host a virtual party if they are unable to travel. Socializing is important for seniors to boost their mood and improve their health.

Simple acts of kindness also work in keeping seniors engaged. You can opt to take them out for a walk every weekend, visit other family members they haven’t seen for ages, or do some of their hobbies during their free time. You can even help your senior loved ones do volunteer work with their favorite causes and organization so you can fulfill your social responsibility at the same time.

Note that there are many senior centers as well as park districts offering exercise programs for seniors. Consider asking them if they are interested in such programs and sign them up with their consent. This way, they can stay active and socialize with other people their age and even give them a chance to develop new friendships.

Provide Resources to Keep Them Busy at Home

For home-bound seniors, you can give them resources that can keep them busy while you work or stay outdoors. For instance, a pet can keep them happy and preoccupied. Studies show that pets help improve cardiovascular health, which means you get to help keep their heart healthy with a pet companion.

Consider their hobbies and introduce these to them while they shelter in place. With the right materials, they can start knitting, stitching, sculpting, baking, or even creating wood sculptures at home. Sometimes, all seniors need is your thoughtful gifts to kick start their old hobbies again.

Keeping seniors engaged is a good way to make sure they are happy and healthy. Even with your busy lifestyle, there are things you can do to ensure their health. All it takes is a little bit of creativity to make sure they stay happy, healthy, and safe under your wing.

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