As some of you might remember, my great aunt passed away at the ripe old age of 103. It got me thinking about what will happen when my parents get older, and the role reversal that takes place. Parents are the caregivers for most of your life, but during those final years, there’s a full flip.
Of course, we’re not quite there yet, and I would like to think my folks have plenty of active years ahead of them. But, experiencing my aunt reach such an impressive age, I have noticed a lot of things.
I’m not sure that I would know how to deal with ageing parents if it were to happen tomorrow, but I do know a few ideas that will make it easier. At least, I hope they do! So, if you are in a similar situation where time is going by incredibly quickly, here are a few things to remember.
It’s harder for them than it is for you
In many cases, when people age, the body starts to go before the mind. When you are young, fit, and healthy, you just can’t comprehend what that is like. I know a lot of elderly people, and most are still as sharp as a tack. And, life can be frustrating for them when their body starts to function less well. Be aware of that when they might not seem appreciative, or want to do things by themselves.
Hospital visits will become more frequent
Perhaps the hardest part of getting older is that you have to start giving up so much of your life to medical appointments. They will become more regular for your folks, and it can be draining for them – and for you. But, there is help out there. For example, organisations like Bria Health Services help people during the major life transitions. Places like this might be able to give your relatives some comfort. Or, you could speak to your parent’s doctor about starting home visits, rather than having them come into the surgery all the time.
Memory is an issue
As you get older, your memory will start to get worse. It can even happen at the age of 20, for goodness sake! So, your parents’ ability to remember things might begin to get a lot worse. Again, this will be more frustrating to them than it will to you, so always keep in mind. You can encourage them to keep their minds active. However – some older people I know love their crosswords, for example.
Finally, let’s not forget about money – which is even more important these days than it used to be. No matter how much money your folks have managed to save over their long lives, the vast expense of living into old age can be frightening. Living in a care home can cost anything up to and around £600 every week, and medical bills will soon rack up. So, don’t be surprised if money issues are a very hot topic with your folks when they reach their senior years. And, of course, be respectful when you talk about their financial affairs.