Friday, July 14, 2017

When Roles Reverse: Taking Care Of Elderly Parents

There usually comes a point in your life when the roles reverse and, as well as or instead of looking after your own children and relying on your parents for support, you will have to look after them and support them. This can often be as a result of ill health, but generally old age can be to blame for most of the ailments that come along. There’s no escaping it, and while some cope with the additional pressure pretty well, it can be hard to know how to deal with the responsibility and pressures that it may bring. 


One of the main things that affects parents in their old age is the housing that they are currently in. It could have been the family home for years, but that doesn’t mean that it is suitable for the condition that they are in now. Most can be adapted with stair lifts, wet rooms built in and a whole host of other amenities which help with day to day living, but if it has gotten to the point where you know that you are changing the house beyond recognition in order to cater for their needs, you may need to look at either buying another house or placing them into residential care. Not only will this have their basic essentials met by carers, but it will be a lot better environment for them to be in for their mobility. It can be a huge adjustment, but one that’s necessary. 


Basic hygiene routines can be a struggle with elderly parents. If they are not going out as often as they used to then they often don’t see the point of putting the effort in. Others may have conditions that mean that they can’t physically or mentally bathe themselves as much as they should be doing. It may be up to you to take control of this issue, but it’s understandable if this is something that you don’t want to be doing yourself. It’s quite an intimate subject to be dealing with, and it may be that your parents feel embarrassed or uncomfortable themselves with you approaching it. There are certain healthcare providers that will be able to send out a carer especially to deal with this so that you don’t have to. It’s peace of mind for you and a life line for your parent also. Not being clean can lead to a lot of older people being ostracized from society, meaning that won’t be going out for fear of comments made. It can be a hard thing to adjust to, especially if they can’t understand why it’s happening. 

Health and Well Being

The diseases that are most commonly associated with old age are dementia and Alzheimer’s, and if your parent has either then it’s time to look for outside support if you don’t get it already. If you aren’t getting any help from your doctor or any other healthcare professional, there are charities who will be able to give you advice on whatever you need to know about. It’s important to keep on top of their health care; a lot resign themselves to just deteriorating without putting effort into keeping themselves in a good condition. Keeping the senses in great form is the basics of what you should be looking out for. Getting in touch with companies that sell elderly hearing products, mobility scooters or wheelchairs and those who deal in items for loss of sight (such as selling bigger phones or larger keyboards with keys with enlarged letters) is something that will be able to help you along the way, but keeping in touch with healthcare professionals who will be able to come out and make home visits is key. 

Social Life 

Just because a parent is getting old doesn’t mean that they won’t want to have a social life - in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Filling their days with friends and activities is something that everybody wants regardless of age, so assuming that it will stop when you get to a certain point is a poor judgement to make. If they are living in a care home of residential village, there are usually activities that are planned for them which they can partake in. If not, and they are struggling to make friends, taking them to a club or meeting group could be a new lease of life for them. They are easily found on the internet - so accessible for us to get the information more so than them. 

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