The population over 65 years of age has grown rapidly in recent years. In other words, a significant part of the American population is aging, and this comes with a set of challenges. As a group, the older population has certain physical and mental limitations. Elderly people report challenges in mobility as well as difficulty in executing their daily tasks. At this stage, they may need help.
Often, the role of caring for the aging is assumed by the family caregiver, which is often (but not always) a son or daughter. Such persons spend a lot of time every week taking care of the older person. This role is often not paid. As a matter of fact, the family caregiver could be using his or her own money when taking care of an elderly person. The article below will guide you on the most effective ways of caring for an aging parent.
Understand the Physical and Emotional Needs of Your Parent
Most aging people are going to have one medical condition or another. Sometimes, they may even experience comorbid health situations, in which they have more than one condition. If you are the caregiver, it is important to do your research on the medical condition in question. Similarly, a significant number of aging persons use multiple prescription drugs and are vulnerable to their side effects, and it is important for the caregiver to know about these drugs.
Make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of each medical condition that your parent experiences. Be sure to ask your doctor about it, and seek an informed opinion. Most importantly, ask what you should do in case of an emergency.
It is also important to talk to your parent about how he or she feels about his or her health condition. Understanding your parent emotionally in this way is as important as understanding your parent’s physical condition.
Understand Mental Health
We all know that aging often comes with cognitive decline. Unfortunately, older people with mental conditions are often neglected by the society they live in. Older people can be a marginalized group of people, as the economy does not recognize them as productive.
If you have an aging parent, accept the possibility of mental health problems as a reality. One of the most common mental health challenges facing old people is dementia. If your parent has dementia or another problem with memory loss, then you need to learn how to cope with the condition. For example, you could say one statement at a time and repeat it. You can develop a daily routine. Human beings respond better to a routine than sporadic daily activities. Most importantly, try not to show your anger and frustration.
Pay Attention to Your Parent’s Diet
Balanced diet is a great preventive measure to ensure good health. An aging parent may have specific nutritional needs. It is therefore important to give your parent a balanced diet that pays special attention to any unique health issues or nutritional needs. If you are not sure about how to do this, ask your parent’s doctor or contact a nutritionist. In your appointment, remember to state the exact age and health profile of your parent, as this could help discuss any specific needs.
In older people, the body’s energy and metabolism start slowing down, and people may be inclined to a sedentary lifestyle. However, an aging person should take part in exercise, even if it involves simple chair exercises. This is because it helps them to avoid health problems such as obesity and heart disease. It is important, however, to avoid high intensity exercise in most cases.
Exercise can prolong life and leads to a higher-quality life. Exercise leads to better sleep. It helps in boosting self-confidence and the mood. You can encourage your aging parent to start exercising. It is never too late to sign up for an exercise program. Just be sure to check with your parent’s doctor beforehand
Technology is helping seniors live a healthier, longer and more comfortable life.
If your parent has a medical condition, then the use of technology is even more relevant. For example, wearable gadgets and smart devices can help evaluate their blood pressure and allow them to communicate more easily with a doctor, in real time.
However, be careful about the technology you choose. The most important thing is that it is safe to the user. It should help you in taking care of your parents at home.
Encourage Activities and Hobbies
Gardening and other hobbies stand out as a past-time activity for older people. You can help your parent to take a walk in the neighborhood and or even go on nature trails if he or she is in good health.
Aging people can use their time to follow an artistic pursuit. Because they have time, they can read and follow other interests.
If you have a child, foster a positive relationship between your child and your parent. Many aging persons get fulfillment from spending time with their families. It becomes a beneficial relationship that helps the grandparent, you and your child.
Be Realistic and Seek Help
Maybe you have found yourself giving up your life to care for your elderly parent. In life, you can only do so much to help take care of elderly parents. It is important to accept that you are not going to be able to do everything. Seek and accept help from other people. These include the siblings, extended family, neighbors and friends.
Find community resources made for the aging. Local senior centers offer group trips and drop in activities. Your City Hall may have resources and publications that target the aging. In addition, local parks often host activities designed especially for seniors.
As you take care of your parent, do not neglect yourself. There are a lot of things that both of you can do together. As a matter of fact, you can come up with a program that is going to benefit your parent and you too. Having a balanced life will help you avoid stress and a burn out.