Caring for Elderly Parents

One of the hardest things to deal with in life is the aging process, our own as well as that of loved ones. The people that most of us watch while they’re going through all the difficulties that accompany aging are our parents. Some are fortunate to age gracefully without ever suffering any type of debilitating illness, but in other cases, we are confronted with tough decisions and uncertain futures. If your parents are still relatively healthy, aside from the normal aches and pains, but need some assistance, there are many things that can be done to help them continue their lives in their own home and maintain some independence.

Your parents’ living arrangements are the first consideration. Are they living in their own home or with a child or other family member? If they are still living on their own but in need of help on a daily basis, you and/or other family members can alternate with providing whatever assistance is necessary whether it be household chores, cooking, or running errands. If there is no one with sufficient time to perform any of these tasks, you can hire a caretaker for senior care and whatever else is required. If your parents are at an advanced age and not able to manage the upkeep of their home and they require full-time assistance, the family will have to discuss the available options and then pursue the best course of action for everyone involved.

Otherwise, your parents can continue living in the comfort of their own home and enjoy their independence. Most, if not all seniors, especially couples, prefer to stay in the place they’ve always called home. There are improvements and modifications that can be done in the home to make it easier for them to get around, and also to make everyone feel confident and comfortable with the knowledge that they are staying safe at home. Doing DIY work like installing nonskid mats in the bathtub or railings for them to grab onto are a couple of simple but effective measures. You can even find many interactive security systems which can give both your parents and yourself peace of mind when you aren’t in contact. Companies such as Nortek Security & Control make tech that can help aging parents. 

Safety is a very big concern for seniors and their families. There are companies that come out to the home to check the entire layout for suggestions on how to improve the safety for your elderly loved ones. You can find a contractor who can install gadgets like chair lifts and ramps, and special lighting to illuminate dark hallways at night when a lot of slip and fall incidents occur. In emergency situations, there are alert devices that seniors can attach to themselves to call for help in case of a slip and fall. Monitoring systems or “granny cams” can be installed for loved ones to keep watch over elderly parents at any time of the day or night.

Healthcare is very important as we age, so loved ones should make sure elderly parents are getting regular checkups and taking whatever medications they may need to remain healthy. There are sensor-equipped pill necklaces and a SIMpill bottle that reminds forgetful seniors of medication times. Technology is also making advances in the area of monitoring patients from remote locations. This allows seniors to stay in their own homes and still receive round the clock healthcare.

Active seniors may need someone to accompany or drive them to outings; something that can be arranged with a caretaker if a family member or friend isn’t available. Staying active and exercising is important at all ages to keep not only the body healthy but the mind as well. Arrange for them to participate in activities that they enjoy or just to spend time with their friends. There are local community centers where seniors meet to socialize or play games and church on Sundays may be a part of their routine. Maintaining their routine is important for seniors.

As you’re going through the process of figuring out what your aging parents need and the best ways to go about fulfilling those needs, always keep communicating with them as much as possible. Their needs will change as time goes by and you will have to use all of your wits sometimes, just to keep track of all aspects of their lives and your own, at the same time. Caretakers, both professional and family, have to maintain their own health to be able to deliver the best care. Caring for seniors requires an infinite amount of patience; the daily rigors can be stressful and taxing at times and can lead to burnout.

One Comment on “Caring for Elderly Parents”

  1. This is a great article with some useful information. Our company offers a medical alert system manufactured by Nortek, which we believe is the best, so it was a nice surprise to see a link to their Website in your article.

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