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4 Ways to assist your parents as they age

Here's how to take a more active role in your parents’ lives as they age

As you come to an age when you don't have to rely on your parents to take care of you, you may notice a certain shift in roles. Now, you have the opportunity to pay it forward for all the years they spent ensuring your needs were met.

And you're not alone. Statistics show that one in three workers currently care for elderly parents. Still, acclimating to this role can be a bit of a challenge, especially if your new-found caregiving role pops up suddenly. It's perfectly natural to feel a bit lost as you try to navigate exactly how to help your parents.

Luckily, you can take many steps to ensure you're making the best decision for your parents. First and foremost, it's important that you communicate openly with them about everyone's needs. Focusing on what's important to both parties will ensure they're getting the most out of your efforts. Here are four other ways you can help your parents, regardless of the state of their health and mobility.

1. Remind your parents how much they mean to you.

The first step to helping aging relatives is to remind them how important they are to you. Sometimes, it can be hard for older people to adjust to slower lifestyles in which they may feel unneeded, especially if they're used to the hustle and bustle of raising children and working at a full-time job. By reminding your parents that you still need them, you'll help them adjust to a life of copious free time.

2. Encourage your parents to try new activities.

Finding ways to occupy free time can be a daunting task for aging adults. You can help your parents by making the effort to stay involved in their lives and involving them in your life, too. You should also encourage proper allocation of your parents' time by helping them find new activities or hobbies, such as volunteering.

3. Find ways to help your parents financially.

When retirement arises, most parents begin living off of small monthly incomes. This can be challenging for those trying to finance basic living costs, and it can be especially challenging when unexpected expenses arise.

You can help your parents by either providing financial assistance or helping them develop a new budget. If you don't have the financial capability to take on your parents' fiscal responsibilities, you can still help by offering to budget for them and researching financial aid options.

4. Monitor your parents' health.

While it's hard for many aging parents to ask for support from their relatives, it often becomes necessary. If your parents have health problems, you can help them by ensuring they're taking precautionary measures to maintain their well-being. You can also offer assistance by driving your parents to doctor's appointments, picking up prescriptions and keeping them company during illnesses.

Remember to maintain a balance between your own life and caring for your parents. Taking too much time away from your spouse and children can be harmful to the overall state of your immediate family. Inviting the whole family to dinner or asking your parents to join you at your child's performance can be effective bonding time that will make everyone feel included and allow proper time management.

As you and your parents age, you should take a more active role in their lives to ensure their physical and emotional needs are met. Taking on a caregiving role is challenging and rewarding, but you know your parents' lives are worth it.

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