As much as possible, we never truly want to think about our parents needing senior care. Perhaps, it is the emotional weight that comes with knowing that the roles have changed. That stomach-drop in realizing that, “Mom’s growing older. I have to care for her now.” However, it is a reality that we cannot escape.
The best action to take is to prepare as much as possible for what could happen. To help you in caring for your senior loved ones, here are a few considerations:
Many telltale signs can indicate your parents needing care. Though the most obvious ones would be health conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease and stroke, some symptoms are more difficult to identify. For some, certain conditions develop that over time prove to be the turning point in their need for long term care. Here are some common signs to see if your elder now needs more care:
As we grow older, it becomes more common that we tend to forget a few things here and there. It can also be the result of stress or exhaustion. However, those can be very mild when compared to older people who could not again remember important things. Examples would be if they suddenly have trouble recognizing who you are, or remembering their birthday, etc. In these cases, it is probable that they already have dementia. Even if you ask them repeatedly, they will not be able to recall the memory they lost.
Another consequence of memory loss is difficulties in language. Often, seniors can forget common words and be unable to say what they were trying to say. It can make them more irritable and even angry, as they become frustrated with their inabilities, especially if they were excellent at communication before.
Sometimes, emotions can also swing like a pendulum from one end of the crest to the other. Older people can be happy in one moment then depressed the next. Or, they can suddenly rise in anger at you for something that is not relevant or current. There are cases where the senior becomes violent on such occasions, as they will have trouble controlling what they are feeling and unable to handle their mood.
It also becomes easier to get distracted, and often you can see seniors with a faraway look in their eyes, musing about something that is long past. Due to this, trusting them to look after certain things, like minding the children or watching the cooking, can be disastrous. It can lead them to do other things when they are supposed to be doing something else.
It is essential in any of these cases that you immediately consider that your senior relative or friend may already need special care for elders. Otherwise, they may place themselves in danger one day or even get someone else close to harm. Though it could be difficult to convince them immediately that they now need someone who can assist them, it really is for their own good after all.
Do not wait for worse things to happen. If you can see abundant signs of memory loss, and suspect dementia, it is highly advised that you consult a professional immediately. Pay a visit to a medical expert with your elder so that they can be diagnosed early, and if possible, be given preventative measures.
Life spans had jumped from 68 years old in the 50s to 79 in 2013. The number of centenarians or the people reaching a hundred years old has also increased. By 2060, the aging population will have reached 98 million, according to the Population Reference Bureau.
Call for a family meeting and decide on who will take the reins. The person may be living the closest or the one who has a lighter schedule. It might be you, your sibling, your spouse, or even your child. The goal is to decide as a family and be open about everything from the beginning. Make sure to include your parents because they have a say in this, as well.
High-hour caregiving will take its toll on a caregiver. This is why coverage for the caregiver is an absolute must. You or your family can get an instant long term care insurance quote to see your options.
Some care needs often end up requiring skilled care. You would have to hire outside help or move your parents to a care facility. Naturally, this may cause unease among children because of the prevalence of elder abuse. To know more about the steps in safeguarding your parents from this, proceed to our post, How to Prevent Elder Abuse Effectively.