We all need help as we move through different stages of life, from finishing school to finding work and settling down. Our parents can be our biggest supporters every step of the way, and so as they reach their later years, it’s only right you try and make their lives easier.
After all, improvements in life expectancy and declining fertility, among other factors, are driving an ageing UK population. While this brings both positives and negatives, your parents will likely soon need help with more everyday tasks and decisions.
Below are some of the different ways you can support them without becoming overbearing.
Stay in touch
This first point may seem obvious, but we all lead busy lives, and it can be easy to get swept up and forget to check in. So, aim to visit your parents frequently or at least video call them if you live a long way apart.
Picking a certain day or time to do so will help you stick to a routine and give your parents something to look forward to.
Provide financial support
This isn’t to say that you should start giving your parents donations. But helping your parents manage their money efficiently can alleviate some of their worries, especially if they’re not confident with numbers or technology.
That might mean managing their pensions or researching alternative sources of cash, like an equity release mortgage on their property.
Watch out for their health
You’re not expected to become a doctor overnight, of course, but there are plenty of ways you can look out for your parents’ health as they age. That includes checking they’re taking any prescriptions as well as watching for tell-tale signs of illness and acting accordingly.
Another way to keep them safe and healthy is to help future-proof their home with additions such as outdoor handrails.
Help out with shopping and groceries
Fetching food, medicine and clothes can become challenging for the elderly, especially if they live rurally and are unable or uncomfortable with driving. In that case, it will be a huge help if you’re willing to pick up bits and pieces for them when you’re shopping for yourself.
Cooking meals also becomes trickier in later life, so aim to choose foods that keep them healthy with minimum hassle. Alternatively, you can help them choose a meal delivery service which will make meals easier for them without sacrificing on health or taste.
Some parents are less willing to accept help than others, so it’s important – however, you choose to chip in – that you do so respectfully and without cutting them out.
That might mean letting them take the lead on certain tasks to stay sharp or allowing them to dictate exactly how and when you help. If you do see extra opportunities to support them, ask their permission instead of jumping in.
It can be challenging to see your parents grow older. But if you’re able to help in some of the ways above, they’ll enjoy more of their later years while you maintain your close bond.
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