Three Things to Consider When Taking Care of Your Parents
Aging is a natural process and preparing for aging should go right along with it. Adults must take good care of themselves throughout their lives so they can age gracefully and enjoy their later years. However, oftentimes, seniors reach a point where they need a little help to make sure they have everything they need. This is where family and caregivers come in. In fact, some caregivers are family.
If you are taking care of your aging parents, it may be difficult to think of them as vulnerable. As their child, it can be difficult for you to understand how aging will affect them and, therefore, how it can directly affect you as well. When it comes time to discuss your parents’ wellbeing and safety at home, there are a few key factors to make sure they have access to what they need. Understanding whether they can live safely on their own or if they require a form of assisted living will make this process easier.
1. How is Their Vision?
A key factor when it comes to taking care of your parents is their senses, mainly their eyesight. As you age your eyesight can slowly decline, which can affect your overall well-being if not treated properly.
By the age of 65, approximately one in three seniors have some form of vision-reducing eye disease. The most common causes of vision loss among seniors are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy. Therefore, it’s important that seniors have their eyes checked regularly to stay on top of any existing or potential vision problems that may occur and disrupt their quality of life.
It’s important for aging parents to stay on top of their annual doctor’s appointments and to continue updating their prescriptions for medications and eyewear. Failing to stay on top of these changes can lead to more serious health problems later in life. Updating an eyeglass prescription annually can prevent seniors from getting into accidents while driving, falling down from misjudged distances, or not being unable to read near or far. If your parents have any of thes vision conditions, taking some time to sit down with them and make sure their prescription is correct could be really beneficial. Encourage them to purchase a new pair of prescription glasses and let them know that doing this may help combat the symptoms they experience.
2. How do They Communicate?
Last year, social isolation among the senior community was worse than ever before. Families were limited on how they could see and communicate with their senior parents and grandparents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Communication is important for seniors, for two reasons. One, communication with friends and family keeps seniors happy and healthy and, two, they need access to their family or caregiver if anything happens to them.
Therefore, it’s important that families keep in contact with their senior relatives through in-person visits, phone calls, cards, and letters. Seniors should also keep in contact with close friends, neighbors, or members of their assisted living communities. Regular communication has been proven to decrease a senior citizen’s risk of chronic illness, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, mobility decline, and even increase their longevity.
However, in some cases, seniors may lose track of time or become forgetful as a result of dementia or Alzheimers. Investing in a phone service, like teleCalm, for your senior parents can help you keep in contact with them in case anything happens, allow them to keep in touch with friends and family, and allow you to manage their calls through an app. With this type of phone service, you as a caregiver can help your parents stay connected to their loved ones and eliminate them falling victim to telephone scams or making accidental or inappropriate phone calls.
3. Do They Have Daily Activities?
Keeping busy during the day can offer a lot of benefits to seniors. Establishing and maintaining a daily routine is important to both the mental and physical health of a senior. Routines can help them maintain function, reduce stress, and allow for improved sleep and greater independence. For those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, a predictable routine can help them stay on track and keep them from forgetting what they were doing.
A daily routine, whether it is more fixed or flexible, will help seniors make the most of their day. It may benefit your parents to log a detailed schedule of their daily tasks to keep them on track and remind them of their agenda if they get distracted at any point. This will also allow them to track more exciting activities, like family visits or other upcoming events. Looking forward to seeing loved ones or friends is a great way to keep seniors on top of their schedules and excited about the future.
Having your senior parent update a calendar with events benefits the caregiver as they are likely in charge of their parent’s daily schedules. The more independence their parents have the less stress it will put on both parties. It will allow both you and your parents to live more independently during the caregiving process.
Finding the right balance between your parent’s needs and their independence will make caring for them much easier. Although seniors require help from time to time as they age, they do value their independence as well. Guiding them through their later years can be easier if you gradually help them along the way with simple tips like these.
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