You may not have anticipated how you help your parents much once you had flown the nest. However, there are many circumstances where support from you can make a real difference.
Despite parents often being tasked with providing everything for their kids, there’s still debate over whether these favours should be returned later in life. If you have a good relationship with your folks, then ideally, you should want to support them if that’s the appropriate response for the circumstances at hand.
Problems can arise with their homes in particular. If they become less mobile and independent, their safety and comfort levels may fall to you to maintain.
Try not to feel overwhelmed if you’re in or near this situation. Read some of our tips below on the ways you can help your parents with their home.
Suggest Disability Adjustments
As your parent’s age, their home may no longer fulfil their needs. In the worst-case scenarios, their properties could even become hazardous to their overall well-being.
It may be good to research home adaptations to browse the full range of modifications available here. Stair and bath lifts, intercom systems, lowered kitchen work surfaces, and widened doorways can substantially improve their quality of life. Small adaptations under £1,000 will be free, so help your parents book their home assessment so their needs can be evaluated.
Don’t worry about funding every adjustment yourself. Financial support is available in these circumstances through your parent’s local councils and generous schemes. Your money may be helpful in some situations, but if you can at least sit with them and provide moral support through these radical changes, that will no doubt be a great comfort to them.
Of course, you should be tactful here. Your parents may have pride, and it could also be too early to suggest adjustments, even if you anticipate they will soon be needed. Try to phrase your concerns in a constructive manner and be open to their input. If others are familiar with the situation you’re dealing with, then introducing their voices to the conversation may help your arguments sound more persuasive.
Recommend a New Boiler
As your parents age, it can be pretty easy for them to become set in their ways. However, if this mode of thought is applied to their boilers, it can quickly impact their comfort and quality of life.
Boilers typically become less efficient after 8-15 years. Radiators can take longer to warm up, hot water becomes a rarity, and the owner’s energy bills can skyrocket. Looking after your parents here means reviewing this situation and assessing whether their unit needs replacing.
Take a look at Boiler Central’s Combi Boiler guide, which lists the best units available today. They make these judgements by reviewing the metrics of performance, price, warranty, easy boilers installation and maintenance requirements. Customer impressions are also explored, giving the content a more dynamic range of opinions.
Of course, the good thing about the guide is that you can recommend your parents read through it independently and verify the information on their own time. That way, you don’t need to push your own point of view on them or risk arguments if they’re more stubborn in nature. It’s online data they can access anywhere, at any time, helping them to stay informed.
Help them with Bills
If your parents have replaced an old and inefficient boiler, their energy bills should be more favourable. However, running a home comes with other associated costs to look out for too.
During the pandemic, there was an upsurge of people reshuffling their retirement plans to bail out their struggling elderly parents, and it’s hard to imagine that things have changed drastically since. It might be that your folks need some extra help in getting their finances in order after a year of uncertainty and struggle.
Try to compromise where you can. Even sitting with them as they go through their budget could be helpful. Perhaps your advice could be beneficial too? You could recommend useful financial management apps too. If your parents aren’t tech-savvy, then try to be patient.
If you’re strapped for time, maybe you could set them up with an accountant or advisor instead who can course-correct matters on your behalf? Attempt to attend as many of these meetings as possible, as yours may be a comforting presence, but otherwise, rest assured that your parents are in good, expert hands.
Suggest a Change
It might be that your parents are sitting in a home that’s overwhelming to manage. Now that their kids have left, there may be a lot of wasted space.
You could suggest that they move into a smaller flat and downsize to make their lives more manageable to Help Your Parents. They could sell the current property they live in, or if possible, rent it out for some extra money.
Help them increase the value of the property if they explore this option. Touch up the paintwork, do some weeding, and boost the value of their home however possible. That way, the process will be far more rewarding.