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» Aging » Caring for Your Aging Parents

Caring for Your Aging Parents

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In 2020, nearly 20% of the US population was over retirement age (65+). In the next decade, 1 in 5 U.S. residents will be of retirement age. It is likely that if you are reading this article you have a parent or other loved one who will be of retirement age then. There is no time like the present for discussions about their options and desires. Being in the position especially of caring for elderly parents can become overwhelming quickly, whether they’re in their own home–or yours. Such conversations, however difficult they may be, are necessary to plan for the future and to prepare ahead for decisions that, when done in haste, can often lead to strife and suffering.

To make a sound decision about the care you are going to provide or find, allow first for an evaluation period. Only when you understand what needs may arise can options be presented thoughtfully and decisions made satisfactorily.

How is it possible now to read a future where advanced care options may be required? Telltale signs include decreased mobility, lack of hygiene, increased forgetfulness, and mood swings all may point to a decrease in personal autonomy necessitating a living situation change. In our next blog, we provide additional detail about the physical, behavioral and psychiatric evaluations offered, and the benchmarks provided, to assist in proper decision-making.

These early informally-observed signs may indicate that more substantial care options must be considered. To know for sure, consult senior care advisors such as the team at Helping Hands Senior Foundation. Finding optimal care is in the best interests of all.

Once you have considered the observed behavior of your loved one, the next step is to assess the extent of assistance you must prepare to provide, ranging from daily check-ins of a few minutes to around-the-clock care–or something in between. If you feel at a loss to make the determination, review AARP’s caregiving guide, a comprehensive resource for advice and support for those just beginning to navigate the senior care universe.

The decision to care for loved ones who are elderly is not one to take lightly. Daily routines may be upended by this new reality. A new level of frustration can occur when your loved one resists care or feels patronized. This transitional period often is marked by pain for both the senior–and for you; however, caring for an aging individual can also be an enriching experience that binds the two of you closer as you reflect on a lifetime of shared memories and make new ones.

Helping Hands Senior Foundation has identified ways to cope with anxiety, fear, or uncertainty as both a caregiver, friend, child, or sibling. In an upcoming blog, we review the ways to sustain an independent life while also remaining attuned to the changing needs of the person you are caring for. P

When and if you choose to have the conversation, it can be daunting. At Helping Hands we also provide guidance and offer coaching to help you navigate this time which may be confusing for the person who is aging. A senior care consultant is a valuable resource for those who have never encountered this situation before, are interested in providing care, and do not know where or how to begin.

Let us help you take the next step to prepare for any age-imposed physical, emotional, and cognitive limitations your loved one may endure, so that “the Golden Years” truly may come to pass for you both.

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