ExecutiveChronicles | 5 Ways to Care for Your Aging Parents | Aging is a sad of fact of life. There once was a time when our parents knew how to care for themselves and what was good for them. But as we have matured into adults, they have entered their dotage.
What many of us are faced with all of a sudden is the drastic change in our parent’s health or the lack thereof. The more sensitive and caring we are with them, the better chance we’ll have of assisting them when they age.
Certain mental and physical abilities decline with age, no matter how healthy and strong you might think yourself to be. Your parents will require more and more of your assistance in performing daily tasks as their age progresses. Simple chores like taking medications on time and remembering to eat become harder to do.
Without assistance, they face increased health risks and even unnecessary hospitalization. But it’s hard to know what to do when you have a lot on your plate yourself, like looking after children of your own, tending to your relationships, and/or performing duties at work.
If you are looking after your aging parents, the following guide can help you take better care of them:
The first step in caring for your aging parents is to determine whether they need to be moved from their current residence into a dedicated nursing home. In case your parents have a chronic illness, then you need to move them into a nursing home, where medical professionals will be able to care for them.
Nursing is also an option you can explore if you live away from your parents for reasons of work elsewhere. Although you should make your due diligence in putting them into a proper nursing home facility, as nursing home abuse is a common problem that senior citizens have to contend with at these homes.
If you believe your parent is suffering from nursing home abuse, you should hire a nursing home abuse lawyer, who specifically specializes in these cases.
To spare your parent the abuse at a nursing home, you should:
- Check out the state’s nursing home database
- Talk to other family members and friends who have used a particular facility and recommend it
- Visit the facility in person
- Check their online reviews and ratings
- Consider their staff arrangements
- Ask about the procedures for reporting abuse or neglect
- Ask about the on-premise activities available for residents
- Consider visiting more than one nursing facility before making a decision
You can also consider other options of residential care facilities based on your and your parent’s needs like boarding and care homes, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and continuing care retirement communities.
Assess their needs
If you’re living away from your parents, it’s easy to arrange for everything for their care. You may excessively worry about moving them into a facility that doesn’t align with their needs or spend money on caretakers that might even neglect their duties.
If your parents aren’t terminally ill, you can assess how much help they may need with living in their own home. This assessment involves asking questions about the tasks that might have become difficult for them to perform and determining what facilitation steps can be taken.
For example, you can assess their cognitive health, their ability to do menial chores, like meal preparation, dressing up, feeding, bathing, personal and toilet hygiene, cleaning house, running errands, finances, and bills, taking medication, etc.
Based on your assessment, you can consider hiring someone part-time or full-time to assist your parent or putting in more home modifications, such as ramps or handrails to provide them ease and comfort.
Have regular check-ins
Let them know you’re thinking of them and check-in to see how they’re doing. You can call or visit as often as you like, or as much as your schedule allows. If your parent is chronically ill or has a chronic condition, such as diabetes or a high blood pressure, ask them about their medications and when they last had an appointment with their doctor.
You must also make sure that they have enough money to arrange for their daily needs. Some parents might get offended when you offer to help them with money, so discretion is advised.
You may also want to ask if they have thought about what will happen if they become unable to make decisions on their own (e.g., health care and financial matters.)
Take some load off their shoulders
Whether you live far away from or live with your parents, there is a lot that can be done to help your aging parents and ease their day-to-day responsibilities. Keep track of their medications, appointments, and any other important information related to their health.
Make sure they take their medication on time and regularly show up at their healthcare provider. You can manage their finances and look after their bank accounts and utility bills. You can help them with groceries and other household chores by hiring help or looking for grocery delivery options in the area.
Plan fun things to do together
A big part of keeping your parents healthy as they age is making sure they stay active, both mentally and physically. Involve them in activities that they used to enjoy before. Playing cards, chess, gardening, or walking the dog around the neighborhood are some activities that will keep them engaged. Take them out for lunch or dinner at their favorite restaurant, go on a shopping trip together, or go on a vacation together, if possible.
You should also help your parents stay connected with their friends and family, whether that’s through in-person visits, phone calls, or video chats. Tap into the community resources, like senior centers, to local churches, many communities offer free or low-cost services, specifically designed for seniors and their families.
Being your parents’ primary caregiver is not easy, but it’s a role that most of us will find ourselves taking on at some point in our lives. You should make the necessary preparations to care for your elderly parent. By assessing their health requirements, you should consider whether or not you should hire a professional nurse or put your parent into a nursing home facility. Make them feel cared for by visiting them regularly, arranging for their medications, taking them for the doctor’s appointments, and ensuring that the at-home renovations and installments facilitate them with performing daily chores.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/