How to Help Your Elderly Parents Without Taking Away Their Independence

When you were a child, it was always your parents taking care of you. They took care of you from the moment you were born and still continued to take care of you even in your adult life.

As they continued to help you while you were growing older, you have to remember that they’re growing older with you. It’s funny how as we grow older in life, our roles reverse. The person who took care of you for so long, you’ll soon be taking care of them.

Taking care of your parents can be a huge reality check for not only you but for them as well. They’re accustomed to being independent and self-sufficient, so them coming to the realization of needing help can be a tough pill for them to swallow. When approaching your parents on the subject, you have to tread softly… there’s a very fine line between caring for your parents and taking control of their lives.

An elder; image source:

It can be hard, as the child of elderly parents, to not cross that line and make your parents feel like you’re taking away their independence but you have to establish those boundaries.

According to the Disabled Living Foundation, most elderly people have a much greater fear of losing their independence than a fear of dying. Losing independence can take a major toll on your parents and can greatly damage their quality of life. This can leave them with feelings of:

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Denial

A lot of times, when the children of elderly parents approach their parents, it leads to a major disagreement with major push-back from the parents. In their minds, they are perfectly fine… they feel fine and refuse to hear anything otherwise.

That denial and refusal to hear anything otherwise is why you have to talk to your parents about what’s going on. Will it be a hard conversation? Yes, but it’s very necessary.

If you have elderly parents that are getting to the point where they can no longer take care of themselves as well as they used to, take a look at the different ways you can help your parents without taking away their independence.

Show Them Different Living Arrangements to Consider

Knowing that your parents can’t take care of themselves like they used to will definitely make you worry about them living alone. Instead of them living alone, you would much rather have them move in with you and your family to make sure they’re safe but it’s not a very sustainable way of life for your parents and your family… it can actually bring on additional stress. That reason alone is why it’s best to help your parents look at different living arrangement options.

Being that your parents haven’t lost all abilities to take of themselves, the two major living arrangement options are choosing between in-home care and assisted living homes. Both are great options but most elderly people tend to opt for in-home care because it allows them to remain at home in comfortable and familiar surroundings.

So employing a senior care assistant will not only give you peace of mind that they’re in good hands but it’s also a fair and reasonable compromise for you and your parents because they will still have their independence.

Encourage Them to Get More Social

An elder; image source:

There are so many different social events, classes, and groups that are specifically for the older crowd. These different social events happen at senior centers, libraries, and community centers.

Anything from bingo and cooking classes to casino trips and lunch outings, these are great ways to keep your parents not only social but active as well. They’ll be able to meet new people an make friends plus, they’ll be able to establish a social life outside of their immediate family.

Teach Them How to Get Comfortable With Technology

For lots of elderly people, they’re intimidated by technology and the only reason they’re intimidated by it is because they don’t understand it or know how to use it. Consider buying your parents a tablet and downloading apps like Skype, Marco Polo, and Facetime. This will allow them to stay connected with friends and family by seeing them versus talking on the phone.

Show them how they can play games on it and go to different websites that interest them. You also want to make sure that they understand the importance of making sure they have their cell phone on them and that they know how to use it when and if they need to contact you.

Have the Conversation

It can be difficult for both you and your parents to have this conversation but it’s an honest conversation. It shows that you have noticed some changes and a slight decline in their usual behavior… ultimately, it shows that you care.

If you and your parents can sit down and talk about it, it can better open up those lines of communication.


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