Dealing with elderly parents can be a hurricane task and I can say that because I have my father-in-law (FIL) who is no less than a child. My FIL is 75 years old, extremely cranky and believe me – my first year of marriage was crazy. Additionally, he is deaf and mute, so communication was a big hindrance. I literally got acquainted with emotions like – frustration, temperament issues, hopelessness! Fortunately, I saw a ray of hope in my mom who had beautifully handled my grandmother despite the taunts and eccentric behaviour. So, without wasting any time, hereby I am mentioning some tips for taking care of the elderly.
All They Need Is Love
Compassion is what everyone wants in life. When we were kids, we would share the entire schedule of our school days with our parents – right? In the same way, they want us to ask them about their day, their friends, their activities, etc. Try and strike a conversation whenever at home. Make them feel special and let them know – YOU CARE! They need that loving hug, a small peck on the cheeks and attention from their kids. Tia Walker has beautifully said, “To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.”
Arrange Get-Together Of Family And Friends
It’s hell of a joyride, when family and friends come together and that gives immense happiness to our elderly parents too. This is the time when they’ll gossip, share, vent out their frustration and have a helluva time. Such gatherings relive them from their stress as they meet their old buddies, discuss life and cherish each moment. If you can’t arrange such meetings at home, then make sure that they meet their friends over a cup of coffee or tea to decimate their loneliness.
Take Them For Outings
Who doesn’t like to have a break from the monotonous life? Long drives, short trips, a visit to a coffee shop is a great way to keep our parents happy. For instance: my parents had planned a trip to Konkan and my husband was super busy. I was worried about my FIL so me and my parents decided to take my FIL along. I was worried whether he’ll be comfortable in the 9-hour-long journey but my parents gave me assurance and we kicked off. Believe me, he had the best of his time. Obviously, there were some places where we couldn’t take him along but we made arrangements at the hotel wherein he would take a stroll in the premises, watch TV or enjoy scrumptious snacks. Me and my husband undertook the same exercise when we planned a trip to Goa that gave us immense pleasure.
Know Their Likes-Dislikes, Wishes
This is very important while coping up with elderly parents. Sometimes, unknowingly we burden them with our dreams and wishes eventually hurting them. I have done it at times and I know how difficult it was for my FIL and for me to get along. However, gradually I got a hang of it and today I know everything about his behaviour more than his own kids. If they like going out to a particular place – friends place, relatives’ place then let them go! If they like some accessories, make sure to buy for them. Also, try and give them pocket money for their enjoyment!
Keep Them Occupied
I know all their life they have slogged so why now in the old age? However, keeping them occupied doesn’t mean you give them hectic household chores. Get them spiritual books, music, movies which will help them to spend a happy day. My FIL likes to water the plants, drying clothes and eventually fold the clothes and so I do not interfere in his daily routine. Let them do whatever they want to, but keep a close eye! The tasks shouldn’t hamper their health in any way.
Take Care Of Their Health
Looking after their health should be an integral part of your life. Their meds, doses, diet, nutrition should be carefully monitored. Someday, let them enjoy their CHEAT DAY but make sure they don’t do the same for their meds. Get their body check-up done after every 6 months or as prescribed by your family doctor. However, if they are too cranky, especially a single partner (widowed), then consult a counsellor. There are some secrets of life they don’t want to share with anybody but might confide with a specialist. This might prove beneficial to you too, as you might exactly know how to strike a conversation with them.
The aforementioned are some of the tips you can implement to add to a happy family but do not forget that after a certain age, elderly parents become KIDS. Treat them likewise as they are going to throw tantrums, going to be stubborn, but remember you were the same when you were a kid. I implemented these tips and believe me, my FIL and I have become best friends and are in a happy space, though we have our share of differences. Today, we both play an integral part in each other’s life. So, don’t let go this moment and cherish it to the fullest. And if you think you can add something to this list, then feel free to comment below.