Things our elderly parents need for safety, independence and comfort

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Posted on: 28 May 2015 by Ben Gaconi

At some point in our lives, most of us will be faced with the unsettling reality that our parents’ mental and physical health is deteriorating with old age. As they age, their role gradually shifts from that of a caregiver to someone who is in need of our care and assistance.

Every second, two people will turn sixty years old, and the 60+ population is predicted to double in the next 30 years. To ensure your parents age with as much grace and independence as they can, there are a few things to consider.

Love and attention

No matter the health state of an ageing parent, addressing their emotional needs is a must. Elderly people can struggle with a variety of emotional problems connected with ageing, such as loneliness and a diminished feeling of self-worth and purpose. Sincere companionship and meaningful emotional contact will greatly increase the quality of living for both your parents and yourself. Talk to your parents often, visit them, invite them to dinner and make sure they spend enough time with their grandkids. Make sure they have plenty of social interactions, and also let them know that they are still a valuable and cherished part of your life.

Health care

As our parents get older, a decline in their health is all but inevitable. Having an in depth understanding of their medical needs is very important, including how often they need to go for medical checkups and what kind of diet and exercise regimen is best for them. Keeping in touch with doctors, nurses and pharmacists of your ageing loved ones is a good way to track their health and wellbeing. It also shows them that you are taking an active interest in their state of health, and care about their welfare. Your support will greatly help them in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle for as long as possible.

resource: Aging and health care utilization: New evidence on old fallacies

Home modifications

If your parent is ill or disabled, it is your duty to make sure they have all the equipment and medicine they need in order to live comfortably. Simple home modifications, such as purchasing a specialized bed or installing handrails in the bathroom can make all the difference between your parents living at home and needing to move into an aged care home. Slips and falls are a real threat for elderly people, so take precautions to minimize this risk: remove hazards around the home, lower shelves, make storage space more accessible and make sure the lighting is adequate throughout the whole house.

In conclusion

Caring for an elderly parent can be a daunting and stressful task, but taking on the role of a caregiver can also be a highly rewarding and gratifying experience. Keep in mind that, just like yourself, your parents are used to leading active and productive lives. You can best support their sense of purpose and belonging just by being physically and emotionally available to help them out during their golden years.

In cooperation with Acute HealthCare

 

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