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Woman with her senior mother

A Holiday Wish List for Aging Parents

It’s no surprise that adult children worry about their aging parents. A recent survey uncovered common concerns about parents living alone in their homes, including:

  • Health problems.
  • Loneliness and unhappiness.
  • Inability to provide self-care.
  • Insufficient financial resources.

As parents age, their adult children want the best for them and hope their family members will enjoy long, healthy and fulfilled lives. With the holidays approaching, what are some of the items on many adult children’s wish lists for their aging parents?

Happiness and Good Health

Adult children want their parents to experience good health and happiness, and they want them to spend their lives free from depression, isolation and loneliness. However, adult children may not know how to help their parents accomplish these goals as they age.

If you visit family during the holidays, you may notice some changes in your parents. Are they moving more slowly? Is the refrigerator empty? Have cleaning and maintenance fallen by the wayside?

Changes in behavior, hygiene, memory, driving skills and other areas can indicate that a loved one has dementia or other health problems. Approaching the topic can be difficult, especially among families that don’t typically communicate about aging and the future. You may be unsure if — and when — you should step in as a caregiver.

Your parents can help you ensure their long-term health and happiness by asking for assistance when they need it. However, you may instead notice a gradual decline in health and well-being. To avoid future tension and stress for both you and your parents, take the initiative to discuss any changes you notice, and work together to develop a plan for the future.

Quality Care

Research has found that many adult children prefer for their parents to age at home, believing they will be happier and healthier in their familiar environment. However, the truth is that in-home care can be cost-prohibitive for many people. Among the wide variety of senior living options available today, you and your parents may identify an ideal living arrangement.

If your parents do choose to remain in their own home as they age, you may find that your caregiving duties increase. Many older adults wish to maintain their daily routines and their independence as long as possible but doing so requires a growing level of support as abilities decline. Cooking, cleaning, personal care, home maintenance and transportation are among the responsibilities that adult children and other family members often shoulder.

By conducting thorough research and choosing a reputable senior living provider, you can ensure that your parents receive quality care at every level of ability and independence. You also can reduce some of the day-to-day burden of caregiving responsibilities so you can focus your time and energy on simply spending time with your parents.

Proximity and Frequent Visits

Most people would hate to think of their aging parents feeling alone or isolated. By making sure your parents live close to you and other family members, you can ensure that they enjoy frequent visits with loved ones and that they never feel abandoned or lonely.

If you currently live far from your parents and are unable to move near them, consider suitable senior living arrangements near you. In an appropriate senior living community, your parents can maintain their independence and engage in activities they enjoy, and they can see you and other loved ones frequently.

On the other hand, if your parents do choose to stay in their own home, they may need significant assistance as they age. By seeking help from other family members, you can share caregiving responsibilities and have plenty of quality time to spend with your parents.

Independence and a Bright Future

Many adult children feel blindsided when they discover that their parents’ health has declined and they will need to take on a caregiving role — often very suddenly. Adult children may feel out of the loop regarding their parents’ finances, preferences for their living situation and goals for the future.

Even if your aging parents are still healthy, happy and independent, consider starting a conversation about the future. By communicating as openly and honestly as possible now, you can begin working together with your parents to ensure maximum independence, health and happiness as they age.