Caring for Elderly Parents
By John Teng
In many cultures the elderly are treated with great respect, and often will live in the family home until they pass on. Unfortunately, in our Western society, the elderly are often viewed as nuisances. For their children, it’s like having another set of children. As a result, there may be burden implications on the parents. Caring for parents should be a fun and rewarding part of your life. After all, we will all eventually become old, and hopefully someone will care, rather than dumping us in a care home.
Can there be options for when you’re caring for the elderly? Often there can be assumptions that the elderly can’t look after themselves. Is this truly the case, or are you placing your own perceptions onto your parents? For example, we watch TV and see how clean and meticulous the homes are kept. But in real life, it’s not too often that people can keep their homes perfectly clean. Just because your senior parents have a sink full of dishes and haven’t cleaned the bathroom for a month doesn’t mean they’ve lost the capacity to care for themselves.
There are many gauges on how to decide whether your parents need a care worker to come in and help them. They’re eating a lot of fast foods or packaged foods? Who cares—in today’s modern lifestyle EVERYONE eats fast food—it doesn’t mean we’re incapable of caring for ourselves.
Ideally, you’ll want your elderly parents to live as long as they can in their own homes. There are ways that it can be made safer for them, particularly if they need to use canes, walkers, or wheelchairs.
There can be costs associated with needing to provide extra care for your older parents, should that time come. A child may not be able to work full-time anymore, as they must care for mom or dad. Many children move their senior parents into their own homes, hoping to spend a little extra time with them, and to save money on lodging.
Sometimes a care worker needs to be hired to come in to help prepare meals, clean house, give medication, or help them bathe. These options should be considered first, before placing your parents in a care home.
Care homes can be considerably expensive. It’s no secret that the more money your parents have, the better the care that they’ll receive. But once they’re in that home, how often will you visit?
No matter what you and your parents decide, it’s best to set a good example, as your own children are watching. You want it to be a positive experience. Making your elderly parents a major part of your life is important, as you’re passing your values onto your kids. When you’re in that situation as you grow older, you don’t want to be packed off somewhere where your children never visit.
Every person is important, and that extends to the elderly too. Let your children see your good example with your own parents so hopefully your children will also take care of you in your old age!
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