Helping your ageing parents to plan for the future

It’s difficult to watch your parents age and even more challenging to realise that their abilities aren’t as sharp as they used to be. If your ageing loved ones value their independence and want to remain living at home, you can work together to help build them a safe, secure home and future.

Ensure in-home safety

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 7 in 10 ageing Australians are homeowners. Your parent’s home is a reminder of their hard work and stability and symbolises their independence. If they’re finding it difficult to navigate their home and use their appliances and furniture, you should let them know that they can find help.

Ensuring your loved ones’ safety is as simple as doing a quick check of their home. Spend some time looking in each room and assessing the potential hazards that may affect your parents. Take notice of trip hazards like floor rugs, furniture or boxes and find where more lighting is needed. Home modifications can be expensive, but by arranging furniture to minimise risk, you’re taking the first step to help your parents live comfortably and safely.

Organise travel and transport

Travel is often something we take for granted, and we don’t recognise how handy it is to have a transport option until it is taken away from us. If your loved ones are finding it hard to drive and navigate independently, you can help them discover an alternative. Take some time to discuss important aspects of your parents’ mobility:

  • Ask them if they feel safe and confident while driving
  • Work with them to create a schedule of their weekly errands which require them to travel
  • Discuss alternatives such as public transport, carpooling with trusted neighbours or engaging with a trusted independent support worker from a platform such as Better Caring
  • Remind them that you want them to live independently and that you’re here to help

Open up the conversation

Having a conversation about your parents’ declining mobility can be tough, but it will always result in a clearer outlook for your parents. Their needs should always come first, so when you’re looking around their home for hazards or sitting down to chat about transport, ask for their thoughts, opinions and ideas. Encourage them to tell you about their experiences and start a discussion about how they’d like to improve their lifestyle.

Don’t be too concerned if your loved one is uncomfortable talking about the future. With the right words, you have the ability to spark a healthy discussion about old age and finding the most suitable support option. If your loved one is reluctant to have this discussion, or you want to find the best words to communicate your concerns, you can use one of these conversation starters.

Plan ahead

Watching your loved ones slow down has probably got you thinking about their future. If your parents are expressing interest in finding care and support or you think they might benefit from an extra hand with things such as shopping and transportation, take a look around for support options and spend time with them so they can make the right decision. Options like Better Caring give control back to your loved ones and allow them to build and manage a support system that suits their individual needs.

If you think your parents could benefit from having a local, independent support worker help out in the house and garden, Better Caring might just be the right option for them and you.

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