Caring for Elderly Parents: 5 Tips that Work Wonders!

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Caring for elderly parents can seem daunting. As your parents get old and begin experiencing an array of ailments, it is very normal to feel overwhelmed. The idea of being responsible for their wellbeing worries a lot of people.

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According to the US Census Bureau, the number of Americans above the age of 65 was 52 million in 2018. The figure is expected to reach 95 million by the end of 2060. It means that a significant population will account for the elderly, and they all will require care.

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Additionally, a study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund has discovered that every one in five aged adults has unmet medical needs, and three out of four adults suffer from chronic illnesses.

In short, people are aging, and the process is not easy or pain-free. Therefore, your elderly parents, and loved ones must be given the attention and care they require to have a comfortable life.

Here are tips that can help:

  1. Visit them often

A study by the Pew Research Centre showed that the elderly in America are more likely to live alone when compared to the aged population all over the world. Over 27 percent of Americans over 65 live alone, while the average of the other 130 countries studied in the research was 16 percent.

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If your elderly parents live alone, make sure you visit them often. There are various reasons why this is important.

Firstly, every human thrives on social interactions. When we are young, we have dedicated social groups and activities to satiate our need for socialization. However, as you grow older, your social circle contracts. To ensure that your parents don’t fall into seclusion, make it a routine to visit them and talk to them.

Secondly, frequent visits ensure that you know that they are safe and healthy. These visits allow you to check their house for any issues or maintenance that is needed to be carried out. For instance, your parents might no longer be able to fix a leaky faucet or roof. You can identify issues and get them fixed accordingly.

While you are at it, check the food supply, cleanliness, laundry, and plants as well. Do your part in making their homes comfortable and liveable.

  1. Schedule regular visits with the doctor

The statistics regarding health problems common in the elderly are very grim. As per the National Council of Aging, an estimate of 80 percent of older adults is battling with at least one chronic disease. Diabetes alone affects over 12 million Americans aged over 65 years.

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To make sure that disease is detected at an early stage and managed effectively, it is essential to schedule regular visits with the healthcare provider. It doesn’t matter if your parents don’t yet have any illnesses; it is still a good idea to take them for regular health screening tests.

Such visits also ensure that you are well versed regarding the prevalent health condition of your parents. It will give you the confidence required to take care of them. You won’t get flustered by small hiccups and instead will know how to act.

While you are at it, also regularly check their medications.

  1. Hire in-house care

A great way to care for your elderly parents amidst your hectic life is through home care.

If you have a job and you think you can’t drop by frequently to check on your parents, you can hire an in-house caregiver to look after them. The states pay caregivers under different programs. The laws regulating the care-providers also differ from state to state.

For example, if someone wants to become a paid caregiver in New York State, there are multiple programs like the Medicaid Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program, Non-Medicaid Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program, Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension, etc. that will pay them to take care of the elderly.

Hiring in-house care is better than admitting your parents in facilities. It is because home care allows people to remain independent and hence keep their integrity and self-respect intact. At the same time, the caregiver is always present to act in case of emergencies.

Not to mention that such caregivers can help your elderly parents in doing light chores and going on walks etc. This way, their muscles will stay active.

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All in all, inhouse caregivers provide companionship, daily help, and medical aid, thereby being the perfect combination.

  1. Make the required changes in the house

Just as we baby-proof a home before the birth of our child, the house also needs to be modified when your parents grow old.

Here are some of the changes you should make:

  • Remove clutter and furniture that no longer serves a purpose. It helps our elders in easily moving around without the fear of hurting themselves.
  • Install grab bars in the toilet and shower to prevent falls.
  • Add strobe lighting to the smoke detectors so that in case of emergencies, your parents can easily wake up.
  • Set the water heater at a low temperature (120 degrees) or install anti-scald devices in faucets to prevent burns.
  • Place non-skid mats in the toilet as well as the bathtub.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors since exposure to even a low concentration can be harmful to the elderly.

As per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, three million older people are treated in the emergency rooms after sustaining an injury due to falling. So, you must equip your house to ensure such accidents don’t take place.

  1. Monitor their diet

Now, this is something you must quarrel with your parents about. After all, no parent wants to be schooled about what they can eat and what they can’t. But, ironically, now you are the parent in this equation. You must monitor their diet and make sure they only eat healthy food.

Avoid spices or anything that is very chewy. Adults require nutrition more than a healthy individual. So, make sure you talk to a nutritionist and only give them the food that is rich in nutrients.

The gut is where over half of the diseases originate in the elderly. So, keep close tabs of what they are eating.

Ending Remarks: You can do it!

The task of caring for your aged parents can seem scary. But, with the right steps and measures, you can easily take care of your parents. Seek professional help and advice if you want. Be present. Talk to your parents and care for them. Take care of them, just like they did when you were a kid.

Evie Harrison:

Evie harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Find her on Twitter:@iamevieharrisonEvie Harrison

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