One of the hardest things many people go through is the role reversal that accompanies their aging parents’ loss of mobility, cognition or combination thereof. It can be a struggle to adjust to caring for those who, for so long, were your primary caregiver.
Here are a few tips that will make caring for your elderly parents a better experience for both of you:
1. Consider Assisted Living
Many people often feel as though they must take their aging parents into their own homes and provide primary care themselves. This often leads to a good deal of stress and anxiety, as the children of elderly parents typically do not have the time or resources to be effective in this capacity. In assisted living homes, elderly parents can lead relatively normal, independent lives — even tending to their own gardens and cleaning duties. But, should a problem arise, help is always available and accessible.
2. Support Groups
The task of supporting your elderly parent in this new situation can be a daunting one, no matter if they’re living with you or in an assisted living environment. Because these scenarios are becoming more and more common, support groups can help a caregiver find friends and advice from those dealing with the same issues.
After a life of medical care, treating the elderly can easily result in scattered medical records, various medical opinions and overall disarray. Getting your elderly parents’ medical records consolidated and in one easy-to-find location will help the assisted living staff, or yourself, when a problem arises.
This process is stressful for your elderly parent too. The lines of communication must remain open between parent and child for the best possible outcome on both sides of the issue. Ask about their needs and wants, and communicate yours clearly in return.
While the reality of caring for elderly parents may at first seem unmanageable, a few preventative measures can ensure peace of mind and a smooth transition into a new chapter of your life and theirs. Be open, honest and cautious, and it’s likely that things will work out quite well.
5. Medical Alert Jewelry
For elderly parents who have medical conditions or may be experiencing minor cognitive problems, medical alert jewelry can literally be a life saver. The styles of medical alert jewelry span the gamut from dog tags to truly classy pieces that look like they came from a traditional jewelry store, but both have a dual function.
If your elderly parent becomes ill or incapacitated in any way and is unable to speak, medical alert jewelry will list his or her medical condition and assist any emergency personnel who arrive on the scene. Medical alert jewelry, quite simply, eliminates the guess work of treating your loved one.