In the U.S., around 30% of the population is caring for a senior relative. This number is expected to rise as the baby boomer generation is starting to age, so if you’re currently an adult with their own family, the days when you’ll have to closely monitor your parents’ health is drawing nearer.
It won’t be easy to grasp the fact that your parents will someday grow old and dependent. Your parents will also have difficulty accepting their changing needs, especially if they now have to listen to your orders instead of the other way around. But it’s the way of the circle of life works, so we all have to prepare for it one day.
Here are some ways to care for your aging parents or any loved one:
Address Their Changing Needs
When you notice that your parents’ or loved one’s health is starting to decline, address your concern together with all your siblings (if you have any), or any person responsible for the senior adult, like a relative or, in some cases, a neighbor. Conduct a meeting to discuss all your honest emotions and thoughts about the senior adult’s changing needs. If you’re discussing it with siblings or other people, assign roles to one another, for example, one who will ensure safety, and another who would assist in leisurely activities.
Don’t forget to ask the opinion of the senior adult. If you’re wondering whether they’d consider moving to a reputable nursing home in Ogden or other cities where their safety and comfort will be secured, don’t mention it straightaway without hearing their preferences regarding their living arrangements first. After all, you’re talking about the place they’d live for the rest of their lives, so it should be decided with careful discerning.
Monitor Their Health
Senior adults are commonly under medication, which can bring side effects and possible complications. If they still live at their home without anyone looking after them, check on them frequently to ensure not only that they’re taking their meds, but also to be certain that they’re still in good shape. Understand the medications they’re taking, it’s prescribed dosages and side effects. Consult their doctor as well to be aware of how the drugs they’re taking affects their health and conditions.
Also check on how they go about their daily activities. Pay attention to their routines; are they starting to get forgetful? Are their balance still good? Forgetfulness can lead to worsened health if it affects their routine medications. And of course, a waning balance puts them at high risk of falls, which may permanently leave them injured.
Spend Quality Time With Them
If you’re not their primary caregiver, visit them frequently at their place or at the nursing home. Call them if you cannot visit. Be empathetic because their situation surely frustrates them. They may be missing their youth, or their jobs, or their friends, so expect their moodiness from time to time. It can be unbearable to deal with those, but your empathy will gradually make them feel better.
Involve All The Family Members
Caring for aging parents brings countless opportunities for siblings to reunite and bond. If it isn’t a family member or blood relative you’re caring for, gather their closest friends whom they treat like family. Involving all family members will also make communication easier. You’d always be updated about your parents’ or loved one’s conditions, and financial concerns can also be addressed.
Review Their Estate and Insurance Plans
Their health insurance may cover their medical and/or nursing home expenses, so determine how much you may claim. Their retirement funds and other assets will be useful for their well-being, too, so find out how those could help. Estate plans, meanwhile, involves their wills, so even if it’s a heavy topic to discuss, it needs to be addressed eventually.
Caring for an aging loved one can sometimes be emotionally stressful, so don’t forget your own health and well-being, too. You can care for them properly when you have a healthy body and mindset.