How to take care of Parents/Grandparents in old age?
Nobody is born with the skill of caring and giving support to parents or grandparents in their old age. I was also not aware of this skill. But I learnt it in my youth while watching and observing my cousins taking care of their parents in old age.
My aunt was bedridden and my uncle used to do her personal tasks daily. My sisters who were working as teachers and were married and had children lived in Delhi. I also happened to be in Delhi in my youth. My sisters had divided the days of the week between themselves and would visit their parents who were my aunt and uncle on prescribed days and do their duties like one of them would wash my aunt’s hair every week and cook something and leave for her home. The other sister would do similar chores of the house. My uncle knew cooking and was self-reliant but they would still come and cook something or do cleaning and leave for their home. I had seen my cousin sister preparing special food for her mother and feeding her with love and care. I saw them rearranging the furniture so that her old parents were comfortable and close by at night also.
They would take turns to see their parents religiously. They were a great support system for my uncle. He always knew that they were just a call away.
I observed all this and when my parents became old, I was prepared to handle the task. My elder sister had also had good training in her in-laws’ home as her MIL was also most of the time bedridden and she also trained me.
My younger sister who was in the USA since her MS days knows nothing about this. Whenever she comes to Delhi NCR, she rearranges the drawing-room as per her taste which is again back to former orientation after her return as old parents need all things of necessity by their side and do not care for decoration in the house.
Also, in North India, we are so much used to having furniture etc., that for old people there is no room to walk around safely…they will get hit by certain furniture pieces and fall quite often.
I feel that just as we take care of our house when children are toddlers and who don’t get hit and fall down so the house is well padded. In the same way, the house has to be well padded for old parents also.
If one can afford it, it is better to keep a helper for old parents who is always by their side as they feel lonely in old age and need a helping hand in maintaining themselves. My father is a pension holder so I have kept a helper for my mother and 2-3 maids at home since I am also working and cannot be with parents all the time.
It is best to keep the helper from an agency so that she is a verified person and safe and reliable. Also if the helper can read medicine names etc., it is very useful. Also, it is better to give training to her in the first one or two months.
Nowadays a lot of development has taken place and in moments of emergency, an ambulance can be called as it is quite reasonable and quick service in Delhi NCR.
My father had two accidents and his leg was injured both times and we hired a helper from an Agency whose number I got from the hospital itself. So, I became aware of the hospital process and managed to take care of him all alone.
Sometimes, in old age parents become stubborn or get into depression. They have to be constantly observed and given pep-up talks and good nutrition somehow either in the form of fluids or semi solid food.