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There are more than 70 million older adults living in the United States. As the age expectancy rises, this number grows.
Adults around the world are learning how to take care of their aging parents as they get older. Without the assistance of home health care, caring for parents can be difficult.
If you find yourself struggling to provide elderly care for your parents, keep reading. We’re going to give you actionable tips for how to take care of an aging parent.
Learn Everything You Can
Some seniors don’t need help with anything, while others need help with everyday tasks. The amount of senior care you need to provide will depend on how much help they need.
To determine the amount of help they need, you should consider your parents’ health conditions. Whether they’re new or old, health problems can affect how they age.
If your aging parents do have any health conditions, you should learn everything you can about them. You should understand what it is, why it’s happening, and what medications they’re taking to help. The more you know, the better elderly care you can provide.
You don’t have to go off and get your MD, but you should know the basics so that you can communicate with your parents’ physicians.
Additionally, you should note any changes in your parents’ daily routine. Signs of deteriorating physical and mental health may point to a greater problem. You should discuss these changes with your parents’ physicians as soon as possible.
Overall, you should learn as much as you can about your parents and their health condition. If you can observe how they’re acting now, you’ll be more likely to notice differences that may come up later.
Ask Them About Their Thoughts and Feelings
Your parents’ thoughts and feelings matter, too. Getting their perspective on how they’re aging can help you provide better elderly care.
Often, discussions about declining health are emotional and frustrating. Older adults may be having trouble coming to terms with their deteriorating health. In fact, they may be in denial that they’re aging at all.
If you’re ready to have an open and honest conversation with your aging parents, you need to be willing to listen. They may want time to vent. Even if their venting isn’t productive, it does allow them to think through their feelings.
While you’re listening, you should avoid arguing with them. Now is not the time to correct them.
The more that you listen, the more you’ll understand their point of view. You’ll hear what matters to them and how you may be able to help ease their burden.
By listening, you may reduce resistance to aging while improving your relationship with your parents.
Collaborate With Healthcare Professionals
Your aging parent may have an army of healthcare professionals working to help him/her. They may have a primary care doctor, a heart doctor, a lung doctor, and more.
You should try to accompany your aging parent to their appointments. You can talk with each physician and get a better idea of what you can be doing at home to help your parents.
They may need to perform physical therapy exercises or take new medication. The best way you’re going to understand these changes is by talking to your parents’ physicians.
This collaboration goes the other way, too.
It’s unlikely that your parents are going to be able to recount everything going on with them. You may have to bring in a journal of symptoms that you’ve collected. Or, you’ll have to recall any routines or changes from memory.
Either way, this information is crucial for each physician your parent is seeing. With more detailed information about your parents’ actions and behaviors, physicians will be able to diagnose and treat more accurately.
Understand Basic Legal Terms
No one wants to think about end-of-life legalities, but it’s a given when you have an aging parent.
There are a few legal terms you’re going to have to become familiar with if you’re providing care for parents. The two most common legal terms are mental incompetence and mental incapacity. Both phrases describe states of being that make it difficult for individuals to make decisions.
In either case, you (or an appointed individual) may need to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the patient.
If you start noticing mental changes, you should talk to your parent’s physician about them.
Follow an Actionable Plan
Caring for parents is difficult without a detailed plan. You may need to create a daily routine or task list to ensure that you’re providing great senior care.
Aging adults tend to cope better when they have consistently. You may have them wake and sleep at the same time every day. And, they may do their physical therapy exercises in the afternoon.
When you’re creating your plan for your aging parent, you should include their primary healthcare provider. He/She can help you figure out the best course of action for your parent’s health.
As you’re following the plan, make notes about what is and isn’t working. You may need to shift some plans and routines to accommodate for new changes.
When in doubt, talk to your parent’s physician. You should keep a running list/journal of what’s happening with your aging parent. You may include new symptoms or noticeable changes.
It could also include questions you may have for the physician. This journal can help you map out the best senior care plan for your loved ones. And, it’ll help you adapt your care strategy as things change over time.
Get Additional Help for Your Aging Parent
Caring for an aging parent isn’t easy, especially if you have limited time and help. That’s why caring for parents may include hiring a home health aide. If you’re uncomfortable with senior living, home health care professionals can help your aging parent navigate everyday life.
And, they can work with your schedule to ensure you get help when you need it.
To learn more, contact us online. We can answer questions and talk about the best solution for you and your aging parents.