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5 Important Ways to Help Your Elderly Parents
By Susan Hyatt, CEO & Co-founder, Silver Sherpa
Article Posted on
Spring – a time of renewal when everyone starts to tackle the task of cleaning and organizing their homes (and lives!).
Here are five smart ways to help your elderly parents while you’re visiting for a spring clean:
1. Clean with a Purpose
As you’re cleaning and decluttering, don’t just “clean”. Look around with a critical eye to where your parents’ important stuff is being kept. Are the things they use often – or might need in an emergency – easily and safely accessible?
2. Find and Organize All Important Documents
Do your parents know where all of their most important documents are kept? Think of financial documents, birth certificates, Powers of Attorney, up-to-date health records, and passwords to computers and electronic devices.
Make sure that you have a record of all the important documents and where to find them so that both you and your parents know where they are.
3. Watch for Warning Signs
Do not ignore small signs of trouble when visiting your parents and helping them clean. Make note of anything that seems unusual or concerning. For example, do they seem overwhelmed by any aspect of living alone, like doing laundry, getting up and down the stairs, or maintaining hygiene?
If you see warning signs, don’t wait until crisis strikes! Planning ahead will help you be prepared for anything that may come.
4. Evaluate Living Conditions
Is the house still safe for your parents to live in? Are the fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors functioning? Are any basic things missing, like food in the fridge or simple hygiene?
Depending on what you notice, you may need to enlist the help of an expert to improve the safety in their home – or it’s time for a discussion about moving into different accommodation that is easier to manage.
5. Discuss Goals and Plans for Smart Aging
This is a good time to bring up your parents’ goals for the future. Have they thought about how their future needs will be met, even in the face of unforeseen health issues or changes in circumstance?
Smart aging means thinking about immediate priorities, short term goals, long term goals, and planning for possible future scenarios. It involves the intersection of numerous considerations, including health, legal, financial, living situation, and more.
Initiate the talk about planning now to avoid stress. And when the phone call happens and your parents do need help, you have a plan worked out in advance.