How to Help an Aging Parent
Signs of An Aging Parent
There are many different signs to watch out for if you’re concerned that your elderly parent or loved one might need extra care. If you can, stop by their home to learn more how they are living. If that’s not immediately possible, video chat with them to see how they’re doing. Overall, consider how many different behaviors fit into a larger pattern; one of these signs may not be indicative of a problem, but if many signs begin to appear, it could be time to consider long-term care.
One thing to consider is their cleanliness and personal hygiene. Is their home beginning to look cluttered, disorganized, or dirty? Are they surrounded by broken appliances, overflowing trash, keeping expired food, or having difficulty keeping their home in order? This might seem extreme, but it can appear seemingly out of nowhere. What starts as a bit of extra mess could turn into a difficult or dangerous living situation. To help ensure these aren’t signs of a larger issue, consider how they’re maintaining personal hygiene habits, like if they’re let laundry pile up or if they are bathing less frequently.
Another sign can be forgetfulness. Bills being paid late or not at all, forgetting appointments, not remembering to take medications, or confusion when trying to complete their chores…these are all signs it may be time for additional care. If your parent appears to be feeling depressed, losing weight, not enjoying activities they usually do, or getting into unexplained accidents, this could also mean that it’s time to consider finding them help.
Steps to Help An Aging Parent
Independent Care & Independent Living
You might not be immediately concerned with their overall health and wellness, but maybe you don’t have time to help them do smaller tasks like shoveling the snow, moving heavy objects, or getting groceries. Your parent or loved one might not think they need the help with these chores, and it’s important to respect their independence; start by planting the idea in their head, and revisit at a later date. In cases like these, a senior living community allows them to remain mostly independent while removing health risks that come naturally with aging. Be patient if they aren’t on board, and don’t force change if it’s not immediately necessary.
You also might consider moving your parent or loved one into an assisted living facility. They might not need around-the-clock care, but consider if they might benefit from having all of their meals and cleaning taken care of, for instance. At Copeland, we have a variety of facilities for seniors at all stages and requiring different levels of personal care. Some just need occasional medical assistance and largely live life as they would alone, but in a community of other older adults. Other seniors might want the ease of having a few meals taken care of every day, but still have the option of cooking. If this sounds closer to your loved one’s needs, consider talking to them about Copeland Oaks.
Need Daily-Life Help
If you are worried about their ability to take care of themselves day-to-day, perhaps because of signs of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or a recent critical injury, it may be time to get them daily life care. Copeland offers these services as well — our facility has a 24/7 on-site medical center for added peace of mind. All of our seniors have access to physician visits and medication management. Or, if they are struggling with memory loss, they can be assigned a certified dementia practitioner (CDP) who can provide them with a greater level of care.
Other Ways to Help
It’s important to keep your loved ones feeling cared for and actively involved in the family. Make sure to stay connected with them through visits and video chats! Far too often, this can be a lonely time in a person’s life. By involving them more often, you can help fight loneliness and depression.
You could also consider helping them manage their healthcare schedule. Between more frequent medical visits, dentist appointments, and new medication schedules, it can be hard for an individual to keep track. You might help them create a calendar with appointment reminders, or make it a point to drive them to and from their appointments. There are smaller steps you can take to not only become more involved in their life but to begin the transition to senior living if necessary.
Other care for aging parents could include legal work and financial paperwork if they begin to lose the capacity to handle these types of affairs. Seniors, regardless of their cognitive capacity, are at risk of financial exploitation, and it’s important to get another set of eyes on this type of work. If it becomes necessary, you might consider taking control of their finances or filling out legal paperwork for them.
When You Need Help, Copeland is Here
Caring for aging parents can be a stressful endeavor, but Copeland Oaks is here to help. We house and care for seniors at all different stages, and pride ourselves on our continuity of care. Seniors who start at Copeland in independent living facilities won’t have to upheave their entire life to get Alzheimer’s care. Whatever you and your family decide is best, we’re here to help.