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4 Tips for Baby Boomers Caring for Aging Parents

Caregiver Hands

When it comes to caring for aging parents, it's important to know your own limits.

For baby boomers, the stress of caring for aging parents along with caring for your own family is one that leads to guilt, second guessing, and heartbreaking decisions. Even if you’ve planned for the day when your aging parents would need more care, it’s not easy to find the balance between caring for yourself, your family, and your parents.

Use these tips to help you through the tough but rewarding experience of caring for your elderly parents.

1. Know your limits.

When you’re in the middle of a stressful situation, you don’t always realize the pressure you’re under until the situation is over. Take the time to evaluate your response to stress so that you know when enough is enough. Do you get irritable? Frustrated? Do you stop exercising or taking care of yourself? Do you start eating more junk food or zoning out in front of the television?

Ask a trusted family member or friend to let you know if they start to notice changes in your behavior that could signal a need for something to change in your life, whether that’s hiring a caregiver, asking for more help from friends or family, or taking a much-needed break from caregiving for a period of time.

2. Encourage your parents to stay independent as long as possible.

The more your parents can do for themselves, the better they will feel. Helping your parents stay independent might mean making a few changes to their home, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom, placing a bath seat in the tub or shower, or helping them learn how to use a walking cane or rolling walker to keep their balance and get around the house without falling.

If needed, hire an independent contractor or find resources in your community to help you evaluate the safety of your parents’ home and make changes as needed. You should also be aware of basic fall prevention tips such as making sure there are no loose rugs your parent could trip over and making sure hallways and bathrooms are lit at night.

3. Communicate with other family members and caregivers.

Lack of communication between family members is one of the greatest sources of stress for boomers caring for their parents. Although you’ll each have different opinions and ideas about what’s best for mom and dad, it’s important to hear each other out and be willing to compromise.

Make sure that individual responsibilities are clear, such as taking care of financial issues, home and lawn care, and taking a parent to the doctor or other outings.

4. Ask for help before you need it.

Don’t wait until you’re exhausted before asking for help. You’ll be able to take better care of your parents if you build in enough rest time to avoid getting burned out. Along with practical caregiving help, you should also be able to rely on your support system for emotional resilience, a listening ear, and guidance for making decisions on how to care for your aging parents. Although it can be a stressful experience at times, it can also be a very rewarding one!

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Falls in the bathroom are one of the greatest risks for aging parents living at home. Make sure your parents stay safe with a bath bench or shower stool, grab bars, and an elevated toilet seat. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.!

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  • Pepper Cee

    Great tips! I think our parents will like feeling independent somehow no matter how small the opportunity. I suggest we continue to let them feel this way, while ensuring our independence as well. Communication is truly the key and perhaps a bit more patience too as I would advice myself at my Philladelphia home where my parents visit me on special holidays.

  • Esther

    Great advice, Pepper! Thanks for sharing.