Dealing with aging parents can be tough on both ends. Your senior parents are grappling with extreme life changes that might change their behavior and affect their moods. If you want to help your senior parents live out the rest of their days as happy, healthy adults, there are a few things you need to do to make sure that happens. Here are five ways to give your senior loved one a happy life.
1. Help Them Accept That Things Have Changed
Change isn’t easy for any of us, but seniors dealing with transitioning into the later stages of life might find it especially difficult. They might no longer be able to be as independent as they once were and take care of simple tasks like going grocery shopping or caring for themselves anymore. It can be challenging and scary, but helping them accept that things have changed can make adjusting somewhat easier. Sit down and talk to them about the changes they’ve recently had to go through and listen to their concerns. Maybe there are things you could do to help ease the transition so they don’t feel so alone, angry, or scared.
2. Get Them Dental Coverage
Dental coverage is extremely important for older adults and since Medicare doesn’t automatically include dental coverage, your senior loved one could end up paying out of pocket for regular dental care. Missing routine dental exams can lead to uncomfortable or unplanned dental procedures, such as root canals, bridges, or crowns. Enroll your senior loved one in dental coverage as soon as possible to make sure they can receive the care they need to live a healthy life in their golden years. Though not covered in Original Medicare, enrollees can choose to add a supplemental dental care plan to their Medicare coverage. Go over their options with them and make a decision together that benefits them in the best way possible.
3. Take Them to Visit Family and Friends
One way to help your senior loved ones combat the loneliness they might be feeling during the transition into retirement is to take them to visit family and friends — and do it often. Make a plan to take them to visit family and friends at least once a week to combat the senior blues. Staying connected to family and friends has quite an impact on health and seniors who get to see their family and friends more often generally live longer lives, have improved mental health, have stronger immune systems, and have better brain health. So consider taking your senior parents to visit with family and friends as often as you can.
4. Treat Them Like Adults
A lot of people make the mistake of treating their aging parents like children — a role reversal of what they’re used to. Think about how that would make you feel if your children started treating you like a child. You probably wouldn’t like that too much and neither do they. Make every effort to treat your senior loved ones like the adults they are. Yes, things have changed and they might not be able to do some of the same things they did when they were younger, but that doesn’t make them any less grown — don’t infantilize them. Treat them with respect and avoid making decisions for them. Instead, include them in the decision-making process and let them know that their input matters. This includes making sure that they are a part of the decision about home care assistance and whether they feel they need it or not. You want to make sure that your senior loved ones are happy and healthy, and that often means that you have to choose the right time to come to them with this conversation. Knowing what they want will help you all to work together on what comes next with no stress.
5. Talk About Finances with Them
Discussing money and financial planning with your senior loved ones is just as important as taking care of their basic needs. Go through their finances with them to make sure they’re budgeting and spending their money wisely so that they can truly enjoy their senior years, especially if you’re unable to help them out financially. Help your senior loved ones manage their money properly by assessing their financial situation. Go over their checkbook or bank statements with them and look for anything unusual, such as double entries for the same item, a change in banking habits, or payments to unknown people or companies. Seniors are often targets for scams, so keep an eye out for things like that.
Taking Steps to Make Your Senior Parents Happy
Helping your senior parents live a happy life during their retirement years is something we all strive for. The last thing we want is to see our parents in pain or distress when they should be enjoying the remaining years of their lives in peace and happiness. Following the above tips can help ensure your senior loved ones live their best lives and deal with old age in a healthy way.
This is a contributed post and therefore may not reflect the views and opinions of this blog or its author.