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Caring for Others
My Elderly Parents

Supporting our elderly parents

As our parents enter their golden years, we might feel concerned about the changes in their health. We care deeply for them and supporting their mental health is just as important as their physical health. This is critical for their overall well-being and helps them feel valued and cared for.

Supporting an elderly parent with depression, dementia, stress and other mental health challenges

Tips on supporting our elderly parents

When communicating with our parents, it is useful to take note of the following:

Be patient and supportive

Take time to listen to their feelings, thoughts and needs. Give them the space and time to respond and express what is on their mind. Offering comfort and reassurance can encourage them to share their thoughts with us.

Learn how to provide emotional support to elderly parents facing mental health or mental wellbeing issues

Be respectful

As our parents age, their ability to carry out daily functions may not be as good as before. We should avoid being critical or dismissive when communicating with our elderly parents and understand that they are not children who need parenting.


Be attentive

Our parents might have a hard time asking for support directly for fear of burdening us. Here are some tips we can try to make it easier for them to share their feelings with us:

  • By observing their body language and paying close attention to their words, we may be able to take notice of what they are really trying to say.
  • If they convey anxiety or frustration surrounding a particular task, we can ask if they need our assistance.
  • Even if they may be reluctant to accept our help, we can show that we care and let them know that we are here if they need any support. We can repeat our offer but be mindful not to force the issue unless their safety is at stake.

Be mindful of our tone and volume

We can speak slowly and clearly, using a gentle and calm tone. Speaking loudly might also be distressing for our elderly parents. If they have trouble hearing, we can consider getting them hearing aids or making use of visual aids to facilitate conversations.

Click here to learn more tips on how to navigate challenging conversations with empathy and care, so that we can better support our parents.


Prioritise their well-being

If our parents are acting unusual, neglecting themselves or endangering their own safety, we may have to step in for their best interest.

For example, elderlies with dementia may not be aware that their abilities have changed and that they are unable to perform normal routines safely.

We can try communicating more with them or increasing the frequency of our visits to support and care for them.


Different mental health challenges

Our parents might experience some changes and losses at this stage of their lives which can affect their mental health and well-being. As their child, we can learn about the mental health challenges they might face so that we can better support them.

Self-care matters

Caring for our elderly parents can be tiring and frustrating at times. This can take a toll on our physical and mental well-being. Ultimately, the lack of self-care will make it more difficult for us to care for them. This is also why we should not feel guilty about attending to our needs.

Practising and prioritising self-care allows us to recharge and be ready to provide our parents with the support they need. Refer to these tips on managing stress and emotions to keep ourselves healthy.

Mental health services

Belle, Beyond the Label helpbot, is an interactive platform for users to find mental health resources and services in a private and convenient manner. If you or anyone you know is overwhelmed with stress or anxiety, you may find the help you need via Belle.

Chat with Belle now.
Get access to Belle

You may also visit here for more mental health resources or download the list of community mental health services including your nearest GP here.

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