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How to cope with ageing parents

By Sabrina Rogers-Anderson

When we’re young, we tend to take our parents’ energy and vitality for granted.  But as our parents age, we may slowly start to notice that they can’t walk as fast as they used to, or their memory isn’t as sharp.

In some cases, they may even have a sudden health event that significantly impacts their daily life.

Watching our parents get older isn’t easy, but there are a few emotional and practical steps we can take to make the most out of this stage of life.

1. Discuss care options for the future

While it can be difficult to have a conversation about what will happen when you can no longer care for your parents, it’s a good idea to find out what their wishes are. Do they want to stay in their home as long as possible with in-home care services?
Would they prefer to live in an aged care village to find a sense of community as they age?

The experienced and dedicated Feros Care Aged Care Advisory team can help you work with your loved ones to come to the best options, and figure out which type of government funding they might be eligible for to help cover the costs. You can contact our team on 1300 090 256.

2. Learn to be a good carer

Being a carer for your parents can be both rewarding and challenging. Beyond helping them with tasks of daily living, it requires showing compassion and giving them emotional support. If you live far away from them, you can still support them over the
phone, or even online via a client portal such as MyFeros

It’s okay not to be perfect at it every day. Providing care for ageing parents can be overwhelming at times, so make sure to look after your needs as well. Finding an outlet such as exercise, or a hobby that relieves your stress, can help you cope
with the pressures of being a carer.

3. Enlist help when you need it

When your parents’ needs start to become too much for you to handle on your own, enlist help before you become overwhelmed. If you’ve already spoken to the Feros Care team, they’ll have your parents’ details on file and can help
you get the ball rolling quickly and easily.

You may opt to start with a few home care services to relieve some of the pressure. Having a helping hand with the cooking, cleaning or yard work can make a world of difference. You can change your
home care services or call us to find out more about residential aged care at any time.

4. Enjoy the small moments where you can

Life can be busy, but try to carve out a window in your schedule to spend quality time with your parents – even if it’s only an hour a week. Try to be present while you’re with them and avoid distractions such as answering work emails or tending
to housework. Having a cuppa and a chat or going for a walk together are simple activities that can strengthen your bond.

5. Ask them about their past

You’ve heard Dad tell the story about how he rescued a kitten from a tree a thousand times, but do you know about your parents’ youths? Ask them about their school years, their first love and the craziest thing they’ve ever done – or
whatever else you’d like to know about them.

You could even record the chats on your phone so you can listen back on them and share them with your kids in the future, or look into one of the services online that collates stories and publishes them into a memoir.  

6. Try to forgive them for their mistakes

Depending on the kind of childhood you had, this could be a relatively easy or an extremely challenging task (and it’s completely okay if you think some things can’t be forgiven). But according to health experts, the act of forgiving can reduce
stress, anxiety, depression, pain, blood pressure and the risk of heart attack.

Not only will you reap the rewards of forgiving your parents, but your relationship with them will likely improve and benefit them too.

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