Growing older is a normal process in a lifetime and, whether you want to think about it or not, there will come a day when your parents won’t be able to take care of themselves. They may not be as healthy and mobile as they’ve been before, plus dementia can make things even harder for all of you. That’s why it’s crucial that you get informed about the ways you can help your aging parents.

Consider your parents’ needs and wishes

The first step is to sit down with your parents and talk to them about their wishes. Ask them how they would like to live in the future. Some parents may not want any kind of help and that’s where you should step up and think about their needs. Do they need help with basic activities like getting dressed, bathing, eating and brushing their hair? If you notice them having a hard time doing all these things mentioned above, then it’s time for a step number two – family meeting.

Organize a family meeting

Call your siblings and ask them to come to a family meeting at your home. Never talk about these things over the phone, mail or Skype because you may not get honest reactions from your family members. If you want to be a caregiver to your parents, then you should speak to your brothers or sisters in order to share the responsibility. If they can’t or won’t take your aging parent in their homes for at least every two months, then suggest them to help financially.

Getting professional help

Very often you and your siblings may not be able to take care of your aging parents no matter how much you want to. First of all, you simply won’t be able to provide them with necessary medical care, plus you can’t be at home 24/7 to look after them. Second of all, you will get burned out trying to balance taking care of your parents, working and raising your kids. That’s when you’ll need to ask for professional help. If your parents are suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, they will need full-time dementia care that will help them feel free and independent. Nursing homes can provide them with that and you can visit your mum or dad whenever you want to.

Stay in touch

If your aging parent moved into a nursing home, it’s very important that you stay in touch with them. They can feel abandoned and you must show them that you are still there for them and always will be. Visit as often as you can. If you live in another city or country and can’t come that often, then call them every day. Thanks to technological advancements nowadays, you are able to talk for hours over WhatsApp, Skype or some other messenger free of charge! Use technology to show your parents how much you love and miss them!

Be realistic

Moving your parents into a nursing home or hiring a professional caregiver can be expensive and some people just can’t afford it. That’s when the children move in with their parents and are taking care of them. However, you will still have a few options that will help both you and your aging parents. Enroll your mum or dad in an adult day program based on their favorite activities like arts and crafts, singing, reading books or mental stimulation games. That way, you will also enable them to socialize with other people. Try to save time by automating some tasks, like using online delivery for necessary supplies so you don’t have to spend hours in different shops.

Finally, don’t forget that all this requires some hard decision-making. Research, get informed about all this and be honest with your parents and siblings. Your mum and dad may need some help, but you will help them the most if you also take care of yourself.