No one can predict how old age will be. Even as we see our parents get older (and sometimes less confident), we can’t say for sure how the next few years will be for them.
But it’s true that as the years pass they’ll need us a little more.
Here are some solid reasons why we shouldn’t neglect our parents and offer them all the support that we can.
1. We Owe it to Them
Our parents have shaped our world. They’ve given us every comfort we needed while growing up. They’ve supported us through the ups and downs of life until we were ready to be all on our own.
For all that they’ve done for us and also for all the good things they’ve wished upon us, our parents deserve the best.
Getting busy with our lives, we may be guilty of knowingly or unknowingly neglecting our parents. But it’s never too late to come back to them and show how much we care for them, especially as they get older.
2. They May Be Struggling Financially
When you don’t live with your parents and meet them occasionally, you may not be fully aware of their financial position. Sometimes aging couples may struggle to make ends meet. But they can be hesitant to step forward and ask their children to support them financially.
If you notice unpaid bills or see your parents getting calls from money lenders, you should have a frank conversation about financial matters.
Maybe their pension money isn’t enough to meet the rising prices of household items. Or they had to spend a portion of their retirement savings on an unforeseen emergency. Whatever the case is, let your parents know they don’t have to bear the financial burden alone, and you’re there to arrange funds for their needs.
3. They Need Our Love and Time
If their retirement plan is on track, your parents are likely doing well financially. You may assume that they’re not dependent on you at all.
But your parents could be emotionally dependent on you. They may be very attached to you. They may want to spend more time with you and your family.
Grandparents are usually very fond of their grandchildren. They cherish the small joys of being around family and loved ones. Just the love and a few occasions to spend time together as a family may be all they need.
4. Their Healthcare Support May Be Inadequate
Older people who are ill may need special care and attention. Some people who live far from their parents and are unable to visit them often might make alternative arrangements for their aging parents’ healthcare.
While this is quite thoughtful, sometimes the best healthcare facilities and arrangements may not be sufficient. There have also been a few reported cases of nursing home abuse in Charleston, WV and similar incidents are common in many other cities.
Make sure you enquire about the quality of their healthcare support from your parents. If they’re not satisfied or if you suspect that something is amiss, change the arrangements without delay.
5. They May Be Suffering from Depression
Depression in elders can go unnoticed, especially if family members are not in touch. The problem may start small but it can become a big issue if left untreated.
So how can you know if either of your parents is depressed?
- You may notice that they seem uninterested and lack enthusiasm about events that would normally give them pleasure, say a family vacation.
- The other partner may complain of their unusual lack of interest in everyday activities like having meals or meeting friends.
- If your parent lives alone, he or she might neglect the house – leaving the dishes unwashed for days, letting the weeds grow wild, or may prefer staying in the dark.
- Insomnia, unrelated to any illness or medication, may also be a sign of depression.
Remember, adult depression is not normal and definitely not the ordinary course of aging. Older people should be happy and feel good about their lives despite their age.
6. Old-Age Related Memory Loss
Forgetfulness is a common ailment among older people. Although most adults learn how to cope with the challenges of dealing with poor memory, some may struggle way too much.
If it were only about misplaced spectacles, forgetting names, or birthdays, your parents may still be fine. But sometimes mild forgetfulness may be a sign of complex disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re afraid that your father or mother has dementia and their forgetfulness disrupts their routine a lot, you should get them to consult a professional.
7. Their Physical Fitness May Be Deteriorating
You may remember your parents from when they were younger and how energetic and fit they used to be. You can notice how different they’ve become as they age.
With age, their physical strength would only reduce. Even if they’re not suffering from any major illness, they may not be able to function with their old vigor. They may face problems maintaining their balance, or their hearing or eyesight may get impaired.
Be there to help and get them the aids they may require to function independently.
8. They Might Be Missing Good Company
Your parents may be blessed with good health for life, but they may not be surrounded by their favorite people all their lives.
Probably, their friends have passed away or aren’t keeping up too well. If you’ve lost one of your parents, the other might be lonely and need your company to get over the loss.
There may be many other reasons why your parents need good company to hang out with and forget their worries. Make an effort to spend more time with your parents, just so they don’t feel alone or left out.
9. It’s an Important Life Lesson to Pass to our Children
Our children inevitably learn from what they observe and how we condition them. When our children see that we respect and care for their grandparents, they’ll also love them just as much.
It’s an important lesson we need to teach our children so that they grow up to be caring and responsible adults.
10. We’ll Miss Them When They’re Gone
If you’re too busy and have no time to spare for your parents, you should stop and reflect on your priorities.
Your parents will not be forever. Once they’re gone, you’re going to miss them badly. If you support your parents today, you will at least have beautiful memories to cherish later.
Always keep the bond of love with your parents going strong. Their blessings and good wishes will be your strength even after they’re gone!