Many older people do not need help from us or anyone else. Many of them are busy with different aspects of their lives. However, as they age further, they will eventually need some help. When they do need help, it often comes from close family members. In many cases, the type and level of care they require can be straightforward but, in some cases, caregivers might have to take on and do a lot more. This is usually after older adults start losing their ability to remain independent or manage some aspects of their lives. To be better prepared, it is advisable to know the types of issues that might come up. So, here is a look at some of them.
Safety issues present themselves in different ways. The most common one is unsafe situations that come with age, such as falls and accidents when trying to do things that used to be easy, like shaving. Other safety concerns arise from driving if they still have their licenses, as well as financial vulnerability and exploitation. Different studies have found that older parents are 3-5x more likely to fall for a financial scam than younger people, and that can pose a danger to their finances and their future.
Medical and Health Issues
Unfortunately, medical concerns are very common as we age. Many people develop chronic conditions as they age and these conditions require monitoring, medication, and ongoing treatment. Also, older adults might develop new symptoms and it is up to the caregiver to talk to a healthcare professional to better understand what is going and decide if they need to intervene in some way.
Also, some conditions might make it harder for aging parents to make correct decisions about their health or the care they receive. Because of this, they need a family member or other caregiver to make decisions on their behalf, especially in cases where there is obvious mental decline.
Help with Activities of Daily Living
Activities of daily living are basic self-care activities that many of us learned a long time ago. They include things like walking, dressing, bathing, feeding, and so on. Although many of these activities are easy for many of us, they may not be for our aging parents.
The level of assistance they need will determine the type of care they need as well as the living and housing arrangements a family might consider. Two common solutions for aging parents struggling with activities of daily living include hiring a full-time caregiver (or volunteering to be one), and considering assisted living.
In many cases, assisted living is the better and financially-viable option because you will usually also have access to skilled nurses and other professionals included in the plan. So, in addition to the care and help with daily activities, older parents can seek the help of qualified healthcare professionals should they require it. For a great example of what an assisted living program can offer, visit website of Frontier Management Assisted Living. You can also get in touch with them to learn about their other independent living options.
The type of housing an older adult lives in will affect their quality of life and safety. It can also enhance or hinder the ability of a caregiver to assist in the right way. For aging parents, the family must consider if the current housing arrangement works for an older adult and if they enjoy and are safe living in that house. If the housing arrangement does not work, a family should consider a more supportive environment. The assisted living arrangement discussed above can be a great option, especially in cases where a parent needs round-the-clock supervision.
Financial and Legal Issues
Some older adults lose their ability to manage their finances and legal affairs. If they have mental decline, many of the financial and legal decisions they make might not be binding. Additionally, even older adults who are mentally healthy can be exploited both legally and financially. Therefore, caregivers and family members must think about assisting with legal and financial issues where necessary.
Additionally, signing and submitting the necessary legal papers can make it easier to provide this type of assistance when it becomes necessary.
Quality of Life
Improving an older parent’s quality of life is just as important as helping them with their basic needs. Their quality of life can be enhanced by ensuring they remain connected to their social circles and the family, maintaining their autonomy and dignity as well as having a sense of purpose.
To help them achieve all the above, it is important to find out what matters most to an aging parent. This way, you will be able to bring more of what matters to them in their life and get rid of what may not have a positive impact on their quality of life and happiness.
Due to the unpredictability of old age, it is important to think and plan ahead. This can include planning for things like health declines, medical emergencies, and optional care. By planning ahead, you can avoid the stress, hassle, and expenses that come with rushing into things like finding a proper assisted living arrangement or nursing care.
Relationship and Family Dynamic Challenges
Taking care of an older parent can lead to a lot of friction because it often involves difficult decisions and emotions. Some siblings or family members may feel like they are carrying most of the burden while others are not doing enough. Because of this, relationship challenges are very common. Proper communication is the key to managing these family and relationship dynamics better.
As most of us already know, and as you can see above, taking care of an aging parent can present a lot of challenges and issues. Additionally, many of their issues overlap such as mental decline and the inability to handle legal or financial issues. It takes a lot of understanding, care, and patience to take care of an aging parent, all of which can be learned. If you face challenges, do not hesitate to ask for assistance from those around you or consider options like assisted living arrangements.