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Looking After an Elderly Parent – 9 Things to Consider

Getting old isn’t easy. The world can change very quickly, and sometimes it can feel hard to keep up. Sometimes your elderly parents will need a little help with certain aspects of their lives, and as their child, you want to be there to support them. Looking after an elderly parent can be tricky though. There are many things to think about, and sometimes you have to make difficult decisions. However, if you’re open and honest, and take time to consider your options, then it will be much easier.

Daily Tasks

Running a house and keeping it in order isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work doing quite physically strenuous jobs and for an elderly person this can be challenging. Often, one of the first signs that your loved one is struggling on their own is when you notice these daily tasks aren’t getting done as they used to.

The problem is, when you’ve been looking after yourself for 50, or 60+ years, you grow accustomed to it, and it becomes a point of pride that you can still do it. Elderly people don’t want to feel like they’re not capable of doing this anymore, and so they don’t always ask for help when they need it. If you notice your parent or parents aren’t managing household tasks like they used to, then offer to find ways of helping them.

Safety in the House

Anybody can trip and fall. However, as you age and you become a little bit more fragile, this becomes more likely, and those trips and falls result in more damage than they used to. Nobody can completely eliminate the risk of injury. People slip and fall in even the safest settings, but you can take steps to limit the risk of slips and trips.

Items such as loose rugs, sharp steps, and untidy cabling all make the possibility of injury much more likely, so perform an audit of the house and find areas where you can improve safety.

Health Issues

Independence is important for many older people. They want to be in control of their lives and be able to live it with the freedom they have enjoyed in the past. Health issues have a way of stifling people’s independence though, and this can be very difficult to deal with.

It’s important that you have open dialogue with your parents about this. Recognize their fears, but also be honest about the situation. Some health issues will impact on the way they lead their lives, and together, you can find ways to diminish that impact.

Finances

Finances are an important issue for people of any age, and it’s important that your loved one’s interests are looked after. Many people will admit that looking after finances is difficult enough no matter what age you are, and sometimes you need a little help. Banking has changed a lot in a short space of time, so you may find your parents need help to protect their finances.

Of course, this can be a sensitive area, so it’s important to be respectful and engage in open dialogue.

A Changing World

The world has changed a great deal in a very short space of time. Technology seems to move on every day, and this can be challenging to keep up with. Your parents clearly don’t have to be out buying the latest gadgets each week, but it’s likely they might find it more difficult to adapt to the way the world works today. As a younger person, this is something you can help with.

Even something as simple as setting your parents up with the ability to video chat with family and friends can make a big difference, so look for ways to help your parents adapt to this changing world.

Quality of Life

We all like to be independent. Sometimes elderly people try to maintain their independence to the detriment of their quality of life though. When you see your loved one is struggling and they don’t seem to want any help it can be very difficult. Again, what you can do is make sure you loved ones know you’re there for them, and keep engaging them in open, helpful conversation.

Independence isn’t worth a lot if you don’t get the quality of life you need, and this can be a difficult issue with older people.

Assisted Living

There are lots of different options out there for elderly people. They might be perfectly comfortable living at home, or they may wish to explore an option like Belmont assisted living. Assisted living provides older people with everything they need, and it is a great way to address many of the points on this list. One thing that’s often underestimated with assisted living is the community it can bring older people. We don’t tend to live in societies where you’re close to your next door neighbors anymore where people would pop by for a cup of coffee. Instead, it’s quite easy to become isolated, but assisted living brings back that sense of community.

Happiness

Don’t forget happiness when it comes to making decisions about your elderly parents. Sometimes we can look at people’s lives and not appreciate that they’re very happy with what they have. Any decisions you make have to include your parents in them, and have their happiness and wellbeing at their heart. A person’s happiness and wellbeing may not always go hand in hand, but it’s important that this is factored into your thinking.

Think About Yourself

You’ve also got to think about yourself when it comes to looking after elderly parents. You have other responsibilities and commitments you need to balance, and there’s only so much you can do. If you over-commit and try to do too much, then eventually, it’s going to have negative consequences for both your and your parents. Make sure you understand your own situation, so that you can give your parents the best possible help.

Caring for someone isn’t easy, and you’ve got to remember to care for yourself at the same time.