Keeping Tabs On Elderly Parents: How Can You Help When They Don't Want You To?

Posted on: 10 July 2017

It can be hard watching your parents get older, but if they shut you out just when you think they need you most, what are you going to do? It's hard to sleep at night, not knowing if your mom or dad had a decent supper and was able to wash up for bed or remembered to take their vital medication. You're not alone in your plight to tend to your elderly parents and there are ways around their stubbornness that should work out better for everyone involved.

Keep Scheduled Visits

If your own schedule allows it, make time each week on the same day to visit your folks. This will help everyone maintain an attitude of openness, at least to some extent, as well as permit you the opportunity to physically check things out, such as an adequate and fresh food supply, that meds are being taken and laundry or other personal needs are being met. To your parents, your weekly scheduled visits mean making preparations the day before, which can be good for them in the sense that they're following a calendar, keeping up appearances and have something to really look forward to, even if they act otherwise outwardly.

If you're observing things with them or their environment that make you nervous, such as finding expired milk in the fridge or unclean conditions, make notes of them initially, so you can record and recall the frequency with which such things occur. Should a pattern emerge, you'll know for sure you need to take action, but also have solid information to provide to other healthcare professionals you may involve in decisions down the road.

Drop By Unannounced, Occasionally

No matter how impolite it can be to drop by without notice, if you're having any difficulty verifying the well being of your parents, you simply have to do it. You can always make up friendly excuses for popping in unexpectedly, such as finding their favorite loaf of French bread on sale - which would of course go stale by the time your regularly scheduled visits roll around or needing their opinions on what you should do about something going on in your office of kid's school life.

These impromptu visits may afford you the opportunity to discover that their health or safety is, in fact, in jeopardy. Although you may feel like you're in an awkward position, it's in their best interest to have you checking up on them and only natural that you need assurance that they're okay.

Talk To Their Neighbors

While it may seem a little pushy or nosy, if checking up on your parents means checking in with the neighbors, so be it. Since you're doing it for good reasons and it may be the only way for you to determine that there's no threat to your parent's welfare, go ahead and have a heart-to-heart with someone else living close by. It may even be alright if your parents know about the clandestine courtesy calls, provided they don't become too upset with you, as it will prove to them how serious you are about making sure they're okay.

Consider Hiring A Senior Services Company

Having someone else provide your parents with necessary services could actually be easier than you trying to do it yourself, for the simple reason that they don't feel comfortable admitting to you, their child, that they're going through the physical breakdowns of aging and need help. After all, they raised you in a certain way, probably to be strong and self-sufficient and since they may not feel that way now, outside intervention could be the most effective and dignified route you can take.

Simply calling around and finding out what types of services are available can set your mind at ease somewhat, even if you don't hire anyone right away. While you have them on the phone, ask for their advice on specific issues you're having and how they'd deal with them. You'll learn more about the individual agencies and also get some good pointers, too.

Take Advantage Of Modern Electronics

If you feel there's a need for more direct supervision for the safety and well-being of your elderly parents, see if some type of medical alert system could work out. They're usually relatively simple to use and non-intrusive, unless an emergency situation arises; in which case, both you and your parents will be thankful for the device's intervention. Also, if the neighborhood they live in is fairly populated, with other people in ear-shot, your parents might accept some kind of personal alarm, like the ones used by joggers. They can be worn like jewellery or kept on a key chain and quickly set off, should your mom or dad fall or otherwise require immediate help.

If your parents are active online or social media, keep in touch that way, too, and encourage other family members to do the same. As a collective, it may be easier to see to the needs of your parents, as well as keep healthy tabs on them.

Discuss The Possibility Of Other Living Options

Even if you only introduce the possibility of perhaps a nursing home or assisted living facility casually, at least you get it out into the open. While they may resist, it's still important to talk about what living arrangement is the safest and most favorable option. If they argue, gently ask them to assure you that they're eating well, getting appropriate exercise and not in any danger, all things considered. This information can either put you at ease if they're actually okay staying in their own home or provide you with more details about maybe finding a more suitable place for them to live. It also presents an eventual scenario to them that they can take their time getting used to, which could make the adjustment much easier later on.

No matter how hard it gets, don't let up on your efforts to protect your parents. It's perfectly normal that they resist what they might see as an invasion into their lives, but if that's the only way to keep them safe and healthy, that's exactly what anyone else in your position would do. Most importantly, find a source for outside help, even if it's only used sparingly. You need that kind of support to succeed. You can also visit websites like