The Indian Way of Life is quite different from the American Dream. We are brought up under the notion that “To care for those who cared for us is one of the highest honours”. So, are you feeling honourable these days? Are you able to dedicate enough time to your parents as is to your spouse & children? This is a never – ending struggle of the happily ever after.
However, the rainbow does exist at the end of the road and it is called “aging gracefully”. This can be your smart solution to doing right by your parents. If you help your parents obtain a healthy aging process, then you can become the quintessential “raja beta” that you were brought up to be.
How do you help them obtain it? Well, here are a few small steps that will go a long way to help you with that.
1. Listen – Most of our parents are complaining of some ailment or other. However, you choose to neglect them until and unless they are bed ridden or its unmanageable in the home. Do not wait for that day. If you hear your parents complain, ask them in detail about it. On most days they will be touched by your gesture and will help you solve it themselves. Be it overcoming the fear of a hospital visit or the fear of death, you can tackle all of it.
2. Specialized Solution – Now that you have established that there is a problem with their health or mental well-being, you need a solution. That is providing them a comfortable and acceptable health care package which will also be budget friendly and efficient for your hectic lifestyle. So instead of starting from a grassroot level of going to the pharmacist and getting a pain killer, visit the specialist doctor or a Geriatrician at the very beginning. Let the doctor provide and guide with the wholesome solution which will fit your needs because only a specialist can provide you with tailor made solutions.
3. Health Insurance – A LIC Moneyback policy is well and good but not practical when paying the medical bills. And last moment monetary arrangement for a major surgery or procedure of your parents does not make you feel any honourable, especially if you are borrowing from your friends. So, instead of waiting for your corporate card to work in that emergency the solution is to get your parents a health insurance. When the financial restrictions are removed from the equation of making life decisions of our parents, then we are emotionally happier and make sensible choices for their health.
4. Home Health Care – Trust me it is not a luxury anymore. Its affordable and practical. There are multiple providers with array of services. But you also need to get customized packages as the provider might end up being an integral part of your family and support system. Thus, you need to find you a service that not only provides specialist solutions but also understands & imbibes your family’s core values. The caregiver will be your proxy in that household and should be able to represent the most genuine love that you feel for your parents.
5. Safe Heaven – We are not talking about last rites or their last wishes, that is a difficult conversation for another day. It is to provide our elderly folks with a safe abode in their vulnerable days. Whether it is a day care service or a hospice centre or even an assisted living facility, do not ever feel guilty or traumatized by the thought of it. Your duty as a child and caretaker also implicates you to make the right choice for their safety even if it appears to be a hard choice. So, find the right option for you without the emotional baggage. Your parents will not hate you for that.
6. Talk – We started with listening, but we must end with talking. Talk to them. Tell them of their options. And if they are emotionally stable to make decisions make sure they know and feel that it was” their choice” at whatever treatment route you chose together as a family. They will obtain graceful ageing only when their independence be it physical or emotional is not restricted by the short coming of their age.
Seek and you shall find. There are a lot of options to the do right things for your parents. It is not a one-way sacrificial road for you. It is more like a pleasant long drive in the valley with your happy parents on the back seat of it. Oh! Did I not tell you there might be a little backseat driving? But I am sure you are Indian enough to deal with it.
CONSULTANT – GERIATRICS
MBBS., MD GERIATRICS