Q & A: How Do I Help My Aging Parents Live Safely?

aging in place

– Question –

My aging parents live independently and are doing well. But when I visit their house, they obviously need help with a few things. A few examples:

  • They haven’t changed a burned-out light bulb that’s higher on the wall.
  • The dishwasher doesn’t clean dishes completely.
  • The shower drain keeps getting clogged.

They said they didn’t want to bother me about such minor things. Why don’t my parents ask me to help even after I’ve told them repeatedly that I want to help?

– Answer –

You’re not alone in your frustration. Many adult children of aging parents have this same complaint. We’re more than willing to help our parents, but they don’t tell us about problems and sometimes actively hide these things from us. Here are 2 possible causes for this behavior and what you can do about it.

1. They don’t want to lose independence.
Some aging parents are afraid that if they let their kids know that they need more help with a few everyday tasks, their kids will start bugging them to move into a senior living facility. Or that their kids will start monitoring their activities more closely and start wondering about their ability to drive a car or get around town by themselves.

What you can do
To help with this, you can promise your parents that you’re not looking for opportunities to take away independence. Your only goal is to make sure they’re living comfortably and safely. If you can help out with some household chores, perhaps it will mean that they can live independently in their home even longer. You can also look around the house and go ahead and fix these types of things without making an issue out of it. That way your parents will know that fix-it items won’t cause long discussions or lots of extra worrying.

2. They don’t want to become a burden.
It’s very likely that your aging parents don’t want to become a burden to you. After all, you probably have a busy life with a demanding job, long commute, or a family of your own.

What you can do
To help with this, on your next visit, make a list of all the items that need fixing. Then, get your parents’ permission to hire a trusted handyman to come over and fix everything. If budgets are tight, you could find a handy friend or neighbor who’s willing to trade services for their help. That way your parents will be more safe and comfortable. They’ll also have another person to call upon if something else needs fixing.

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: American Preppers Network

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