Caring for an Aging Parent: Helpful Tips to Make the Process Easier

It can be difficult to know how to care for an aging parent. They may need help with basic activities such as bathing, dressing and using the bathroom. Or they may need more complex assistance, such as medication management or help to cope with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

This post highlights two helpful tips to make caring for an aging parent easier for both you and your parent.

Establish a Routine

A routine ensures that your parent's needs are met on a daily basis, which ultimately makes your life as a caregiver more manageable. Set aside time each day to check in with your parent, help them with any tasks they need assistance with and just spend some quality time together.

If your aging parent lives at home with you, develop a daily routine that they can follow to give them a sense of structure. For example, you may want to help them get dressed each morning, make sure they take their medications at the same time each day and help them with any exercises they need to do.

If your parent lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you might not be able to see them every day. However, you can still establish a routine if you call them at the same time each day, send them regular letters or cards and visit them on specific days of the week.

Keep Their Mind Active

You should always aim to keep your aging parent's mind active and engaged. Doing so can help prevent cognitive decline and could even delay the onset of dementia. There are many ways to do this, including:

  • Playing cognitive games such as crosswords, Sudoku, or trivia
  • Doing word puzzles
  • Reading books
  • Watching educational shows
  • Engaging in conversation

You can also encourage your aging parent to stay socially active and help them connect with friends and family members, join social clubs or groups or attend religious services. For example, if your parent is a member of the local seniors' centre, you can encourage them to participate in bingo, art classes or book clubs.

If your parent has dementia, you can still do many things to engage their mind. For example, you can listen to music together, look at photo albums, or tell stories. This way, even though they might not be able to follow a conversation, they can still enjoy spending time with you.

Contact a service that provides aged care to learn more.