One stage along life’s path may be the opportunity to care for aging family members, primarily parents. Loved ones might not trouble anyone for needs they have, so these are the signs to look for and the care to provide.
Recognizing certain physical and behavioral changes can assist in knowing when to be concerned for a loved one. Physical changes to keep aware of are weight loss, difficulty getting up from a seated position or difficulty with balance and walking, bruising and other unexplained injuries.
Also, there may be signs that a little help is needed when certain tasks are forgotten or left undone. Mail may stack up, spoiled food isn’t thrown away, or laundry is not done. Hiring help or scheduling time to assist with these tasks can make parents still independent.
Observing behavioral changes is very important too. Are there extreme mood changes? Are they ignoring personal hygiene? Is there confusion with daily tasks? Are they forgetting appointments or medications? These noticeable changes may indicate dementia, but always should be discussed with their medical provider for possible care options.
Sometimes too, there may be depression. Do they sleep most of the day? Are they not as involved with family? Or with friends? Again, recognizing differences in personality or behavior are important to discuss with their medical provider for treatment.
This time comes with many decisions and preparation. Assessing a parent’s needs is the first step. Will the parent require professional aid? Is there equipment needed for their physical care?
Unfortunately there are situations when a loved one suffers a medical event leading to a need for 24 hour assistance. Medical professionals will help during these times by suggesting facilities or in-home nursing.
Other times, parents may just need adjustments in their own homes to make daily tasks easier and safer. Bringing items down, to eliminate reaching, is a great help in preventing falls. Walking devices also serve well preventing falls, as will bathroom equipment for bathing.
Whether parents stay in their own homes, move in with their children or facility, the many advancements with care are improving daily life and even extending it, thankfully bettering this transition.