Caring for an elderly parent or relative can be challenging at times, but for the most part, it’s an opportunity for you to connect with these loved ones in a way you may not have been able to in the past.
Your relationships with these family members can evolve and deepen, which can not only enrich the lives of your elderly loved ones but also you and your children’s lives too.
However, we don’t want to take away from the fact that caring for elderly relatives can oftentimes consist of some complicated responsibilities. These are best handled with the support of your wider family and community.
Here are some small ways that support can be valuable to families supporting elderly relatives:
Crafting an Active Social Calendar
One of the main benefits of retirement villages is that they provide their residents with a wider community of their peers.
Making social connections can have physical, mental, and emotional health benefits for people of all ages, but for the elderly in particular, staying socially active can play a big role in improved quality of life.
Alongside this, the National Institute of Aging has also found positive correlations between socialization and reduced risks of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure as well.
For these reasons, it’s recommended that you take advantage of your family’s own social calendar and bring your elderly relatives along to extended family gatherings and parties, and other celebrations or calendar events occurring in your wider community.
Not only will you be ensuring the health and safety of your loved ones, but you will also be making sure that they maintain a high quality of life throughout their years in retirement.
Many Hands Make Light Work
The old adage rings true here, especially when you consider that a lot of elderly relatives do move in with their children who, by this time in their lives, generally have children of their own.
For households who are supporting live-in elderly relatives, it can be tricky navigating school schedules with doctor’s appointments and other schedule changes as well.
On the days where it is feeling just a touch too hectic, you should feel free to lean on your extended family and members of your community. Even friendly neighbors can agree to check in if you’re ever out of the house, or even give your elderly family member a lift wherever it’s needed.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned the sheer importance of community care. These teachings continue to be a positive influence in communities.
‘Sharing the Load’ for the Sake of Making Memories
Finally, it’s worth noting that the responsibilities associated with caring for an elderly relative don’t solely rest on one child, or on one household.
Whilst an elderly parent can have their own room in one of their children’s houses, they should feel encouraged to spend time with their other children and grandchildren as well, and the houses of your extended family can utilize their guest bedrooms to host fun weekends with their grandparents.
Alongside this, you should also consider taking the opportunity to travel with your elderly parents. Not only will traveling with your elderly relatives present families with the perfect opportunity to make meaningful memories but traveling with a diverse party can also allow for well-balanced getaways that are guaranteed to have a little something for everybody.
Any family who has stepped up to the plate to care for an elderly relative knows just how rewarding the experience can be.
After all, these elderly relatives enriched our earliest years, and they can do the same for your children today.
This is the magic of family. It’s a magic that we can bear witness to for such a brief time in the grand scheme of things. Cherish these days.