1. Spend time with them.
Sometimes, seniors just want someone to spend time with them; to talk to them and listen to their stories or concerns. When was the last time you just spent quality, uninterrupted one-on-one time with the senior parent or loved one in your life? With no agenda and no time restraint, ask your senior what they would like to do or talk about and let them lead the conversation. The responsibilities of elder care can be exhausting and sometimes we miss opportunities to slow down and just be present with our seniors. You may be surprised at how much it means to them to just give them your time and undivided attention.
2. Ask them what they need.
Have you ever asked your senior what they want or need? If your senior is the type to keep to themselves or not want to ask for help, take some time to ask them specifically what they are needing and then help them to get it. They may need help and be afraid to ask, or wish that they could do something or have something and haven’t been given the opportunity to request it.
3. Include them in activities and events.
If you have events in your life that you could include your senior parent or loved one in, do it! Seniors who have lost the ability to drive or who rarely get out of their homes can start to feel isolated and alone, and struggle to find the motivation to get up and get moving. If there are events that you know your senior would enjoy, consider inviting them so that they feel included and loved and socially involved in the lives of the people that they love.
4. Ask them for advice.
When adult children start to become family caregivers for their elderly parents, the role reversal can be hard on some seniors as they come to terms with the fact that they have lost some independence and that they are unable to now do many of the things they once did without thought. They are still your parents and if you continue to appreciate and respect that role, by asking them for advice on things that are important to you, it will help them to feel important and special in your life and remind them that they are still the parent despite the amount of help they may now need.
5. Hire help.
Lastly, a great way to show your aging parent just how much you care about them is to recognize when they or you need help and hire the professional services of trained caregivers to assist you. Caregiving is not an easy job and can be overwhelming and stressful for adult children who are trying to juggle two households and provide excellent care to their parent or loved one. There is no shame in asking for help, and caregivers are comfortable and knowledgeable on issues that seniors specifically need help with, so you can be assured your senior is in the best hands.