Caring For Our Aging Parents When They Are Ill

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What do you do when an aging parent is ill? Obviously, if it is something major, you would call 911 or head for the hospital. For less serious, but still misery-inducing, illnesses like a nasty head cold or a tummy upset, there are plenty of ways to help and encourage them, whether you live near or far away.

Up close and personal senior home care:

  • If your schedule allows, ask if they’d like you to spend a day or two with them at their house. Then you can easily keep up with the dishes, empty their tissue-filled wastebaskets, and help them in a myriad of little ways, just as they did for us when we were young.
  • Make sure they have a good supply of foods they like to eat when they are sick. Also, check on whether they need more over the counter medicines as well as refills of any of their prescriptions. Humidifiers, vaporizers, or thermometers might be needed as well.
  • Aging parents often put off going to the doctor, even when they should go. Keep a close eye on their symptoms and make sure they go in if it is needed.
  • If they are feeling really crummy, it might cheer them up to receive a lovely bouquet of flowers. You might also bring some books, crossword puzzles, magazines, or a new DVD to cheer them up.

If your beloved senior lives far away, you could:

  • Make a Smilebox card or send an ecard from Dayspring or Hallmark to cheer them up. Make sure they are up to using their computer first though.
  • Even though you are too far away to take them to the doctor’s, it can still be wise to monitor their symptoms and encourage them to go to the doctor’s if necessary.
  • Sending them a bouquet of flowers won’t be cheap but it could be such a day brightener, it’s often worth it.
  • Use Amazon to send them a book or DVD. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, it can arrive as quickly as the next business day for only $3.99 shipping (or free in the next two business days)!
  • If they live in an area that offers grocery store delivery options, ask for a list and send them some sick-friendly foods like chicken noodle soup and saltine crackers. For that matter, Amazon’s grocery department carries both Chicken Noodle Soup and Saltine Crackers and works with Prime shipping!:)
  • If their illness looks like it will be prolonged, help them get signed up for Meals on Wheels.

Just knowing you are “there” for them and care about them, whether close of far away, can give them the boost they need to feel better quickly. And that’s the best gift of all! 🙂

The Wright Stuff
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  1. Great care tips for the ill, young or old; close or far away. @

  2. RT @SandwichINK New blog post: Caring For Our Aging Parents When They Are Ill

  3. RT @sandwichink New blog post: Caring For Our Aging Parents When They Are Ill

  4. This is such a wonderful and thoughtful article. I work for American Medical Alarms and we hear so many stories from our seniors about being lonely and missing their families. It is so important to them just to have someone to talk to sometimes.

    I also would like to share with your readers that when they do not live close to their aging parents a great way to help them feel safe and secure is to get them a medical alarm. These systems allow them to get help with just the push of a button and could save their life in an emergency.

    It costs just pennies a day and provides them an added sense of security that is priceless. Also, seniors who have a medical alarm continue living independently in their homes 6 years longer than those without a medical alarm.

    Please feel free to visit our website at We also provide free resources like a Fall Prevention Guide and the Vial a Life.

  5. Caring For Our Aging Parents When They Are Ill |

    • Matt Johnson
    • September 21, 2009

    Terrific suggestions, Kaye. I love your last point. Often seniors find great comfort in having a loved one just listen to them and empathize about their illness.

  6. Hi Beverly, Thanks for writing. I am a firm believer in security alarms of all types and was happy to spot the Better Business Bureau logo on your site. Thanks for letting us know! 🙂

  7. Hi Matt, Thanks for stopping by and for your great comments! 🙂

    • Anonymous
    • September 22, 2009

    Thanks Kaye. I hope it helps. It is often very difficult for us to care for our loved ones from far away and it is even worse when they aren’t feeling well. Because of the number of injuries that aging seniors have during illnesses I thought it would be helpful to mention the medical alarms.

  8. Definitely! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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