Top 5 Tips to Help Aging Parents Without Taking Over

As parents age, they may require assistance with certain daily tasks like cooking, taking their correct medications, and making health decisions. This can be a difficult reality to face, especially when older parents fear losing their independence. Adult children just want to help their parents and ensure that they stay healthy, happy, and safe. While this seems fairly simple, parents may resist the help, even when they need it. The last thing you want to do is make them feel like they have lost their independence. Keep reading to learn 5 top tips for helping your aging parents without making them feel like you are taking over. 

Tips to Help Your Aging Parent Without Taking Over

1. Let Your Parent Take the Lead

By allowing your aging parent to make the decisions about receiving help, this will likely make it easier to help your parent. Your parent will still feel like they are independent, which will help them maintain their home and health for as long as possible. This is a much better option than trying to take over everything for your parent. After all, they will likely resist any attempts for you to take over their personal life, which will not help them. The main goal should be to offer your help, so they can maintain their independence.

2. Let Your Parent Decide How and When You Help Them

It’s important to talk with your parent about what type of help they need. When they ask you about assistance with specific tasks, it’s a good idea to only help with what they have requested help with. This will help your parent feel like they are still in control. 

For parents that find it difficult to ask for help, it can be challenging to offer your assistance without upsetting them. In these situations, a gentle reminder about helping out is a casual way to bring up the offer in everyday conversations. Your parent will not feel like they have to accept the offer, but will be comforted knowing that someone cares about them and their health. 

Perhaps your parent would like assistance, but from a professional that isn’t related to them. This is a great time to help your parent find a suitable caregiver that can provide the care and support they need to maintain their independence. Indeed, your parent may be more comfortable with this option because they don’t want to negatively affect their relationship with you.   

3. Always Be Respectful

Remember to always be respectful and understanding of your parent’s needs. Just like how you expect others to ask you about your preferences, your parent is the same way. While it can be challenging to offer help, your older parent will likely respond well to offers that help maintain their respect and dignity. It’s a good idea to approach the subject to help in a careful way that will convey your love and respect for your parent. If you push them too often on the subject, they may resist receiving help from you even more. 

4. Establish Safety Nets

A great tip to help your aging parent is to establish safety nets for them. This includes a variety of options designed to help your parent maintain their independence while also receiving some assistance from outside resources. A medical alert system is an effective way to keep your loved one safe while also giving them a way to easily get help if they have an emergency like falling down. Another option is to use assistive devices that make it easier for your loved one to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). This may include shower benches, grab bars, and non-slip flooring that will increase their safety and prevent falls.

Additionally, your older parent may also benefit from visiting an occupational therapist. An OT has the skills, expertise, and resources to recommend tips and exercises that will help your parent maintain their independence with minimal assistance. While parents may be slow to accept changes, they will likely be motivated to make the changes when it allows them to be independent for as long as possible. 

5. Prioritize Their Health and Wellness

If your parent has developed Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, they may not be aware that trying to follow their normal routine on their own is no longer safe. This can be a difficult thing to understand, especially if they have memory loss and/or poor judgement skills. No matter what health conditions they have, you must prioritize their health and well-being. It’s recommended that you take charge of their health when they can no longer safely do daily tasks without help. Your loved one may resist, but try not to take it personally. This is a difficult change for them, especially when they have a health condition that hinders their ability to live on their own without help. 

We hope this week’s article was helpful as it discussed a few tips to assist your parents. You love and care about your loved ones, so it can be tricky to offer help without upsetting them. When they can no longer live safely alone, you may be feeling overwhelmed about what to do. At Liberty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Services, we are dedicated to redefining healthcare to meet your loved one’s health needs. We offer a wide range of expert services, including short-term and long-term care, skilled nursing, outpatient therapy, and assisted living. We also have a team of therapists that offer physical, occupational, and speech therapy for patients.