WELLBEING MONTH: Helping out elderly parents? Jessica at ElWell gives us their top tips for looking after them and our own wellbeing
Wellbeing comes in many shapes and forms and is impacted by lots of different things. One such thing is often family, and in this case, our parents. Some are fit and well and others are getting older and a bit more fragile, and some may have health concerns. Either way, it doesn’t stop us worrying about them and this is where ElWell have offered up some advice.
Jessica Silver from ElWell is passionate about helping people look after their parents as they get older. This can be a stressful time for people, so here’s her top wellbeing tips if you’re going through this now.
I’m going to update the old saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. Now, in 2021 it’s ‘absence makes you worry more’. Having been kept apart from my parents like many of you, I’ve been worrying about them more than ever. And this is all having a big knock-on effect on my wellbeing (thanks Covid).
As life expectancy increases, helping our parents as they get older is a life stage which more of us will experience. Tackling any new life change can be stressful, especially if we’re helping from afar. But like with any life change, it’s important to hold your wellbeing up as well.
At ElWell, we help people look after their parents, offering information, support and advice. So we were so happy to chat to Independent Oxford and offer our wellbeing tips to help you through this.
1. Goals, goals, goals
Is it the year of the goal or what? I don’t know if it’s just the people I follow on Instagram but suddenly wishy-washy resolutions have been turned into goal making. And this year I’m trying it too! It’s helping me focus on what I need to do. And we can use goals to help our older parents. This could be “I will ask for family help when I realise it is needed”.
However, make sure goals are manageable and don’t set ones you know are unachievable – be kind to yourself!
2. Keep time for yourself short and sweet
Time to yourself can be hard enough to do at the best of times, let alone when the kids are being home schooled and life has been turned upside down. The key here is to make some rituals. They’re meant to be short and sweet so it’s more likely you’ll keep to it.
If you say you’re going to have 15 minutes for a short work-out or solo walk outside, the chances are you’ll smash it! If you claim that it’s going to be an hour a day and then you falter on day two, you’ll just not bother. Remember, it’s wellbeing month – we want you to feel like a hero not a failure and this is one way to help yourself.
3. Think about what’s worrying you
It’s fine to admit you don’t want to think about the problems your parents could encounter as they age. But having an honest conversation can help you stop worrying and, if necessary, start planning. Ask them how they are. Find out their views and finances for care. Get a grasp for what’s worrying them. Not only will this help your wellbeing, but theirs too.
4. Ask for help
A problem shared is a problem halved. Yes, a cliché but yes, it’s true. If you’re worried about your parents ageing then voice it. Join a forum and learn from others who are dealing with the same. Chat with family and work out if they feel the same. Or get expert advice – ElWell can help you here.
Want to know more or get additional support?
Nancy Farmer and I started ElWell when we realised how difficult it was to access relevant information and support to help people caring for elderly parents. She’s a physiotherapist specialising in elderly rehabilitation and I had personal experience of caring for a family member. We realised it needed to be easier to educate and empower people who were worried about their elderly parents.
So we’ve created a course to help you through this.
Our Essential Guide To Helping Our Older Parents
With over 5 hours worth of content, we cover topics such as:
– How to make your parent’s home safe, so they can keep staying there.
– What to do if they wander.
– How to prevent falls.
– What information you need to know as power of attorney.
– How to pay for care.
If you’re interested and want to know more, go to www.el-well.com/courses or email firstname.lastname@example.org.