There are 77 million baby boomers in the U.S., many of who will be considered elderly within the next decade. This means their adult children—or the children of older parents—will have to shelter some responsibility in taking care of their parents as they age.
It can be scary and stressful for adult children to face the harsh reality when the parent/child roles get reversed. If you have an aging parent and aren’t sure what to prepare yourself for, read on. Here are five responsibilities you’ll have to face as your parent gets older.
1. You’ll Need to Help Your Parent Out With Everyday Chores
It can be extremely difficult for elderly adults to tackle and complete ordinary household chores like they used to. Physical limitations along with a lack of energy can cause dirty dishes and laundry to pile up within a couple of days.
Even a healthy elderly parent needs regular help with cleaning and maintaining their home, if they still live in it. This includes vacuuming, dusting, tidying up, taking out the trash, mailing letters and retrieving the mail, making the bed, doing the laundry and the dishes, and so much more.
If your parent has pets they may need someone to clean the kitty litter box or walk the dog regularly. You may need to come up with powerful and practical ways of improving their home such as completing DIY projects for them. Helping a parent maintain a clean and well-run household will create a healthier environment for them.
Elderly people sometimes have a difficult time preparing meals or they may forget to turn the stove or other appliances off. An adult child can help with cooking and meal preparation and make sure everything is safely turned off.
If they live in a home with more than one floor, they may have difficulty walking up and down the steps which can further compound the problem. As falls are a leading cause of fatal injury in seniors, an adult child can help configure the home and furniture to prevent the risk of a fall.
2. You’ll Need to Drive For Them
One of the most difficult things for an elderly person to give up is driving. They can feel a loss of freedom and independence. If they must give up their keys due to safety concerns, this also means an adult child needs to take on the responsibility of driving them places and running errands for them.
This can mean taking your parent to doctor’s appointments, shopping, and social events. They may no longer be able to walk around a supermarket and reach for groceries, so you may need to do this for them and make sure their fridge and pantry has enough food.
Taking on this responsibility can be very time consuming, so if you have siblings or another trusted person that can help out, you may want to reach out for assistance.
3. You May Need to Groom and Dress Them
Although most elderly people who are unable to groom and dress themselves are usually in assisted living facilities, some adult children will have to help them if they live with them. Your parent may need help with dressing and undressing, trimming their nails, brushing their teeth, getting on and off the toilet, and making sure their hygiene is healthy.
If your parent is confined to a bed, they’ll need to be moved regularly to help prevent bedsores.
4. You May Need to Handle Their Finances
It’s easy for elderly people to get confused when balancing their budget and paying bills. An adult child may need to have control of their finances by staying on top of when bills are due, and how much money is available to pay for expenses. They may also have to file their parents’ taxes each year.
5. You May Need to Be Their Eyes or Ears
Elderly people with a disability such as blindness or deafness will need someone to be their eyes or ears for them, as sometimes corrective lenses and hearing aids can’t completely restore the senses. This means they may need someone to answer the phone for them and speak on their behalf for important matters or make calls for them.
It also means they need someone around most of the time just in case there’s an emergency that they can’t hear or see.
Should Your Parent be in an Assisted Living or Memory Care Facility?
Knowing if it may be best for all involved if your elderly parent were living in an assisted living or memory care facility is a tough decision to make. Sometimes, however, it may be necessary if the stress of taking care of a parent with physical or mental limitations is too much.
It may also be necessary if your parent suffers from delirium or dementia, two conditions that have similar symptoms. Learn more about delirium vs. dementia and if an assisted living or memory care facility is right for you and your family.
Adult Children Have Many Responsibilities Towards Their Elderly Parents
There’s a lot for adult children to take responsibility of as their parents get older. It can be a stressful situation caring for elderly parents and keeping emotions under control. This is why it’s important to seek support whether you have siblings or can hire professional elder care to help take on some of your responsibilities.
Here at Let’s Be Game Changers, we love helping readers live their best and most fulfilling lives. Read our latest lifestyle posts for more content on family relationships and maintaining a home.