Senior Parents Deserve so Much

When you’re young, it seems like your parents have all the answers. Then, as you get older, that perception changes to “they have no idea what they’re talking about.” It’s true that there are times when we take our parents for granted. Maybe it’s because they are the nearest to us. And they, too, feel the same way. 

But as our parents grow older, it’s important that we think about the things they expect from us, especially when we realize just how many things they give up to provide us with a comfortable life.

Here are six things we believe your parents deserve from you when they reach their golden years:

Act With Dignity And Respect

Almost everything that follows below exemplifies this duty. However, setting that expectation clearly from the start is essential. All people deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of age or social status. While respect should be earned rather than given freely, it’s clear that your parents have more than earned the right to demand it from you.

Listen To Them

Your parents listened and patiently answered all your queries, even the silly ones when you were a toddler. They expressed genuine interest in your ‘fascinating’ story about a squirrel you saw on your rooftop. 

While you were growing up, they heard many complaints about unfair teachers and your unjustified scores. Now it’s your turn to listen. 

This is important because they’re getting older and will probably have things they need to get off their chest. That means you should be listening attentively. You might think that your parents are rambling about nothing. But sometimes what they say is important to them.

Advocate For Them

Advocating for your parents means standing up for them. Recall all those times when you were bullied or treated unfairly, and they stood up for you. If your parents are unable or unwilling to fight for their own rights, it is up to you to advocate on their behalf.  

As they age, they will rely on you for help. For parents with dementia, who may have difficulty following directions or communicating clearly, it’s especially important to help them be heard.

If your parents can no longer manage their affairs independently, it’s up to you to ensure that the appropriate people know what’s going on with them. They may still be able to handle some aspects of their lives, but there are many things that require assistance from other parties.

Stay On Top Of Your Parent’s Medical Needs

We all know that our parents are going to get old someday. There’s not much we can do about it. But as their children and caregivers, there are some things you should be doing now to prepare yourself for this inevitability:

  • You need to know your parents’ medical history in order to be prepared for the future. If they have a history of cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, then they’ll need treatment for these conditions when they’re older. Know what kind of medication they’ve been prescribed before things start getting out of hand.
  • You should also know any mental health issues your parent may have or develop over time. Depression is common among elderly people who live alone without support systems around them like family members. According to The Daily Pioneer, one in eight older persons in Canada experienced their first episode of depression during this epidemic. 

So it’s important to find a therapist who can check up on them regularly enough so they don’t slip into despair at being isolated from society at large. 

Also, keep an eye out for symptoms like repeating questions or forgetting recently learned information. Those could indicate the early stages of a serious condition like Alzheimer’s disease, which will require careful monitoring throughout their lives. 

According to Statista, about 29,000 people aged 65 and older who live in Hawaii suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. A forecast projects that this number will increase to 35,000 by 2025. The numbers are equally concerning in other states in the US, too.

Set Up Emergency Plans 

It’s important that you have a plan in place before your parents need it. Make sure that the people close to you know about this plan and can help if needed. You should also inform them of where the emergency contacts are located and how they can contact them quickly in an emergency. And your parents should know how things work now and whom to call during emergencies.

Don’t Make Them Feel You Are Doing Them A Favor

Never try to remind your parents of how much you are sacrificing by letting them live with you. And if they need help learning something new, never act smug when teaching it.

We have a responsibility to our parents as they age. Remember that before you feel guilty about skipping out on a visit or not helping out with something at home. Think about how much we all need our parents not just to survive but also so that we can continue to thrive in this world ourselves.