This post may contain affiliate links resources for your caring for aging parents checklist. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
Want a caring for aging parents checklist? You’re not alone.
Most people will eventually experience the aging of their parents. For many of us, this is challenging emotionally and intellectually long before any other sorts of issues enter the picture.
As your parents get older, one of the first things that may happen is that you may feel an aversion toward changing your views of mom and dad as physically strong, mentally vigorous individuals. Most of us want to always see our parents as they were when they were younger.
But because aging has predictable consequences, it’s wise to be willing to tweak how you perceive your parents. If you take into account the effects of aging, you’ll seek to be flexible and creative in the types of activities you do with your parents.
When you’re caring for your aging parents, you can use all the help you can get. Your brothers and sisters can provide a tremendous amount of support, but there may also be challenging family dynamics to manage.
Learn how to lighten your load and draw your family closer together by sharing caregiving responsibilities with your siblings. Use this caring for aging parents checklist for working together as a team.
Caring for Aging Parents – Checklist for Managing Logistics
- Hold family meetings. Even if your family is spread out over long distances, try to gather in one place. Talking about how to care for your parents before an emergency arises allows you to approach the subject with a clearer head.
- Assign roles. It’s easy to drift into old patterns. The child who was labeled the responsible one growing up may automatically assume much of the decision making. Instead, each of you can look at your current capabilities and contribute accordingly.
- Consult professionals. Ask family physicians, religious leaders, and social workers to help you find the resources you need. Engage a geriatric care manager to coordinate the process.
- Share information. Talk with your brothers and sisters about what you learn as you research issues about aging and caregiving. Give each other updates after you call or visit your parents.
Maintain records. You may need to deal with some complicated medical, financial, and legal arrangements. Proper documentation can prevent misunderstandings and help you comply with applicable laws.
- Encourage independence. It’s important to remember that your mother and father want to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Look for ways to assist them that support their dignity. Installing safety bars around the shower is one adjustment that helps them to care for themselves. Consider installing smoke detectors and fire alarms.
- Ask for help. Call on each other when you need a hand. Be tactful and specific. You can let your brothers and sisters know that you need them to cover part of a medical bill without trying to make anyone feel guilty.
Caring for Aging Parents – Checklist for Managing Emotions
- Think about aging. Watching your parents grow older may trigger uncomfortable thoughts about aging and death. Join a support group or read spiritual material that can help you to understand your feelings.
- Sort out rivalries. You may find yourself competing for your mother’s attention or reliving old memories about how your father took your brother camping without you. Decide to let go of past conflicts or talk them over with your siblings.
- Respect differences. Each member of the family may have different opinions about the situation and unique ways of contributing. Accept that your sister may be more willing to pay for a gardener than to come over on weekends to do the yard work herself.
- Establish realistic goals. It can be difficult to juggle caregiving on top of all your other responsibilities. If you’re becoming overwhelmed, concentrate on the essentials.
- Express compassion. This can be a challenging time for the whole family. Be gentle with yourself and your siblings as you take on new tasks. Let your parents know how grateful you are for the love and guidance they’ve provided.
- Take a break. Taking time off will help you to sustain your strength. Ask your parents if they’d like to take senior aerobics classes at the local gym so you can spend Saturday morning with your kids. Making self care a priority is essential for caregivers.
Caring for Aging Parents – Checklist for Fun Activities That Take Less Than 15 Minutes
- Listen closely. Give your parents your full attention. Let them know that you value what they have to say.
- Send flowers. Brighten their home with fresh flowers or a plant. No special occasion is needed.
- Share photos. Even if they check Facebook regularly, your parents would love a printout of a cute photo of their grandkids inside a pretty frame. If you can’t pick just one image, make a photo book.
Sing along. Buy them a CD of golden oldies. Bring back memories of high school days or summer road trips.
- Dance around. Get up on your feet. Try a little ballroom dancing or the twist.
- Experience nature. Watch a sunset or listen to chimes ringing in the breeze. Notice trees changing color in the fall or sparkling with ice in the winter.
- Laugh out loud. Tell a joke or a funny story about what happened at work. Reminisce about the silly things you did growing up.
- Hug each other. Touch is essential to our emotional wellbeing, but the longer we live the less we tend to receive. Wrap your arms around each other or squeeze your parent’s hands when you’re coming and going.
Caring for Aging Parents – Checklist for Simple Pleasures That Take a Little Longer
- Read a book. Read out loud from a novel or the newspaper. Pick up large print books if your parents like them. Reading a book with your parent is a great way to spend an hour or two.
Take turns reading aloud if your parent wishes to read. Your mom or dad’s cognitive abilities will be exercised through the reading process. To keep this activity enjoyable, be sure to stop whenever they get tired. You can pick up the story on your next visit.
- Watch TV. Families used to gather around one giant device. Turn on an old sitcom or watch old movies. Rent DVDs of old movies your parent likes.
Most aging people enjoy watching movies and might even have favorite movie stars whose films they love to see. Watching an old movie with your parents will jog their memories. Movies prompt parents to recall what they were doing around the time they first saw the film.
- Write a letter. Letters are more memorable than email. Drop one in their mailbox.
- Adopt a pet. If your parents’ circumstances allow, help them find an older dog or cat to love. If not, bring your dog over to give them some affection and entertainment. Call around to see if there are therapy animals in your area that could visit them.
- Work out. Offer to drive them to senior exercise classes at the local YMCA or the senior day care center.
More Activities That Work!
- Eat as a family. Prepare lunch together. Sit down in the dining room or out in the back yard.
- Gussy up. Grooming becomes trickier in the later years. Invite your mother along when you’re having a haircut or a manicure. If your father prefers privacy, buy a kit so you can give him a cut and a shave.
- Clean the house. Chores can be fun. Agree to vacuum the living room if they’ll treat you to cookies and tea afterwards.
Help your parent clean out a drawer or closet. Because your aging parents might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of getting rid of some unwanted possessions, ease their mind by offering help.
You can assist with sorting belongings, getting organized and donating unwanted items to a local charity.
- Volunteer together. Show your parents that they can still make a contribution. Teach English to recent immigrants or sort food at a local pantry.
- Plan an outing. Fight loneliness and isolation by suggesting activities outside the home. Take your mother and father out for an afternoon at a local museum or shopping mall. Maybe your local library shows free old movies where you can mingle with other families with the same idea.
Caring for Aging Parents – Checklist for Spending Quality Time Together
- Take short walks if the weather permits. For aging parents who don’t get out and about much, a walk outdoors can be wonderful! You can admire nature, see changes in seasons and get exercise. Plus, this provides a wonderful backdrop to chat and spend some time together.
Bear in mind the length of time you walk as your mom or dad may get tired easily. But even taking a gentle ten-minute walk is good for body and soul as long as your parent’s doctor approves.
- Show your parents something they’re interested in on the internet. Although your parents might not be into the internet at all, you can still expose them to something new by using it to investigate a subject that interests them.
There’s plenty of fodder for conversation when you show your parents that by using the internet, they can obtain handy information on topics that interests them. Plus, exposing your parents to new information expands their minds, which will help keep their memory sharper.
It’s best not to expect your mom or dad to want to learn how to navigate online. But if they decide to do so, you’ve just opened a door for them to use their thinking skills more.
- Work a paper and pencil puzzle together. Periodically doing crosswords, word searches and other types of puzzles will help keep your parent’s mind sharp while serving as a quality activity to do together.
Working puzzles also provides you with opportunities to compliment your mom or dad’s abilities and efforts in completing a task.
Caring for Aging Parents – Checklist for Creating Lasting Memories
- Go out together for breakfast or lunch. Because your parent’s energy may wane by the time dinner rolls around, take advantage of the earlier hours in the day to spend time together.
Going out for breakfast or lunch provides opportunity to share a meal together when mom or dad are fresh and feeling their most energetic.
- Film your aging parent telling a story. If your parent likes to tell stories and has done so in your youth or to your own children, see if they will agree to be filmed.
Your mom or dad might feel quite touched that you want to preserve memories of them. Plus, their memory of some of the stories might be tapped in the process.
Use the Positive Effects of Gratitude and Self Care to Reduce Caregiver Stress
Caregiver stress is an inevitable part of the job when you’re caring for an aging parent. But there are ways to keep it from becoming overwhelming. Three effective methods are to practice gratitude, journaling, and self care.
We found something that combines these three stress management techniques into one simple activity – a super helpful – self care journal.
Gratitude, self care and journaling reduce caregiver stress and improve health and well-being. This awesome trio is a great stress reduction technique when taking care of aging parents. It’s a simple, but truly effective way to combat stress. Plus, they are free, quick, and can be done anytime, anywhere.
Studies show that practicing gratitude and self care can make you happier, lower stress, protect you from depression, help you sleep better, boost your immune system, and improve your relationships.
How to Care for Aging Parents without Stress and Overwhelm
As your parents grow older, it’s necessary to vary how you spend time together. If you’re willing to be creative and a little flexible, you’ll discover many ways to enjoy time with your parents as they age.
Taking care of your aging parents can be hard work, but there are also great joys. Remember how lucky you are each day that you still have your mother and father in your life.
In fact, it’s natural to want to find some way to give back when you think about all that your parents have done for you. Use this caring for aging parents checklist to get you started on creating your own moments of love and happiness.
Each stage of life has its own special pleasures. Even when you and your aging parents may be struggling with your changing roles and the loss of independence, facing the transition together draws you closer.
As the average lifespan increases, you may be able to enjoy your parents’ company for many more years than you expected. Advance planning and skillful communications will help you and your siblings to collaborate on caregiving to make this stage in your family’s life more joyful and meaningful.