Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Quality of Life for your parents

When we were growing up, our parents were our care givers.  They made sure we were safe, well fed, clothed had medical care and that the money was there for the things we needed.  

But being a caregiver for your mom and dad is about more than just giving you the basics of survival and health.  Many of us as Boomers still have ageing parents to care for and this can be a strain as we move into retirement and we face the prospect of them moving in with us, or they face the prospect of moving into a retirement home.

Now our turn has come to be the care giver for our parents.  They need you now as they move into their older years and they are less able to attend to those basic needs of life.  But you have a responsibility to assure they are safe and that they have the right food to eat for their diet. 

You can make sure their clothes are clean and that their medications are there for them every day.  You also can look after their finances so there is plenty there to take care of the necessities of life and none is wasted or taken from them by scam artists.

But just as growing up in a family, there is another element of being a care giver and that element can be boiled down to the phrase, “quality of life.”  That is a good phrase because if in our childhood we had times of joy and happiness because we were part of a loving family that was because our mom and dad went beyond the physical basics and made your life fun, full of love and laughter and good times that you would remember forever.

Perhaps you can still remember those times with your parents today.  But as you remember those terrific vacations or all the wonderful, Christmases and the many funny things that happened in your family when you were growing up, your parents made sure your life was rich and full that way.  And those people or that person are these same person you are now charged to care for as they age.

So how can you do all you can to enhance the quality of life for your parents?  If you can find ways to give them happy times, time of laughter and love, that will be a fitting pay back for the loving household they provided to you all those years.  Here are just a few things you can make happen to make their lives happier…
  •     Dinner every week.  If you have a routine time when you either come to your parents home and bring dinner or have them to your place to enjoy some family time that will become a favorite night of the week for your parents. 
  •     Lots of family time.  The real value of being in the same town as your parents is they can have lots of time with your family.  So let them be part of many of the family things you do such as church, school activities and fun outings during the spring and summer as well.
  •     Make the holidays festive.  What would the holidays be without Grandma?  And if Grandpa makes a good Santa Clause, you are all set.
  •     Make their house a home.  As a caregiver, sometimes the chore of cleaning and maintaining your parent’s apartment falls to you.  
  •    But don’t just “settle” for a nice clean look.  Dig out those great things that mom used to have on the walls and shelves at home when she had her own place.  Try to give that room at the senior retirement center as much like home as possible so she will feel comfortable and happy among the things that mean this is her place and hers alone.
If you can create the same joy, the same fun and the same sense of “home” for your parents that they were able to create for you and your siblings growing up, then you will have taken one more step toward giving back a little of what was given to you. 

But there is a real value to giving your parents the same love and good times they gave to you.  Laughter and love and happy times are therapeutic and can do a lot for the health and well being of your parents.  So put that extra creativity you have into really giving to your parents the quality of life they gave to you and they will blossom where they are planted, just you and your siblings have in life.

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