Your parents brought you into this world and took care of you, so you should return the favor in every way possible. Support doesn’t have to be financial, although that might be where they need it the most.
There are myriad reasons why you should support your parents. Here is an exploration of some of them and tips for doing so with grace.
Ways You Can Show Support and Why
You love your parents. When you love someone, you are hardwired to want to take care of them. Although your parents took care of you and it isn’t necessarily your responsibility to take care of them, you will likely want to if they are in need.
Emotions can cloud your judgment and make you want to help when you aren’t in a position to, but don’t let that stop you from assisting in other ways. You can provide for your parents in emotional and supportive ways that don’t require money.
Show Them Respect
Showing your parents respect can come in many different forms. Paying for their groceries when they cannot is a form of consideration since they fed you when you could not fend for yourself.
If you can’t afford to pay for their food, perhaps you could help them sign up for food stamps, government organizations, or programs that offer financial assistance to older adults.
Show your appreciation for your parents and their role in helping you become who you are today. Giving your parents attention is often the greatest gift you can give.
As you grow, you can become so focused on your progression that you push them aside and forget the investments and sacrifices they likely made for your future.
Respect them by being grateful and sharing your feelings with them. You can help them around the house, cook for them or simply spend time reminiscing about your childhood to make them feel loved and appreciated. Small gestures can make the most significant impact.
Help Them Plan
Getting older isn’t what it’s cracked up to be — it might depress some not to be able to provide for themselves or manage their finances anymore. Show compassion and help your parents devise a plan for their futures.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a retirement plan and community and it can be overwhelming to plan alone.
If you can begin preparing early enough, there will be less strife about who holds responsibility and delegation for care and other factors that apply.
Discuss nursing home options with your parents and get your siblings on board with the plan so everyone is on the same page when it comes time to make those decisions and arrangements.
Ignore the Controversy
The controversial ideality that it isn’t your responsibility to care for your parents can be twofold. There is some truth in the idea that it isn’t your duty, but that is a manner of perspective. It is your responsibility if you consciously feel guilty for not providing for your parents when they need you to.
There are many unique situations where parents don’t exactly provide for their children and expect them to hand over money as they age and advance in their careers. However, your feelings towards your parents are valid and justifiable and you should trust your instincts without entertaining notions of others.
Your parents are your parents — no one else’s — and you’ll be the one reflecting on your choices when they are gone.
Tips for Supporting Your Parents
It can be challenging if you are willing to support your parents financially and you can do so. Regardless of your financial situation, it can be overwhelming to care for your parents, especially when you have a family of your own to provide for. Here are some tips for supporting your parents.
Consult Your Spouse
Your spouse is your teammate and partner — the one you chose to do life with. Consult them before you make any promises or financial arrangements to help your parents.
Ensure you are on the same page and set boundaries to prevent stress and unfair burdens for your family. Clear expectations can avoid strain on your marriage.
Discuss Insurance Options
Insurance is essential for aging parents since many require medical attention. Your health naturally declines as you get older and you want to make sure your parents are protected from outrageous hospital or doctor bills as much as possible.
Ensure everything is in order and that they have an insurance plan that best suits their needs. For example, if they require prescription medications, consider a program that pays for them.
Helping Your Parents Where You Can
You don’t owe your parents anything — or do you? This mentality can stem from adverse childhood experiences or a sense of entitlement that is unwarranted.
If you can support your parents, you should do so in whatever feels right. Emotional support or a willing hand to hold can move mountains -– support does not have to be in the form of money.