Adult Children Helping Aging Parents

Elderly parents frequently reject help from their adult children, yet want to be seen and acknowledged for who they are.

Attacking senior parents with too much information at once may increase their fear of losing control. Instead, be patient and persistent while keeping track of facts in a central location can help you keep on top of things.

Getting Regular Health Screenings

No matter where your parent resides – be it in a care home, with senior home health services or living with you – regular medical checkups can help detect early any illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes and can often be treated effectively if caught early enough.

Monitor the medications your elderly parents are taking carefully. Make sure they’re taking all their pills as directed and inquire about any new prescriptions they might have received. An organized sheet can help keep track of which drugs they’ve been prescribed as well as dosage information; this way you’ll know whether they are taking too much or too little of certain pills.

However, there remains considerable disagreement regarding which screening tests are beneficial to older adults. Some experts contend that simply following cookie-cutter recommendations for screening tests like pap smears and mammograms won’t necessarily improve quality of life; ultimately, you and your parent must decide together which screenings they want to keep receiving – discussing this matter with a physician will help reduce stress and disagreement down the road.

Managing Mental Health

Mental health conditions can add another level of difficulty when caring for elderly parents. Depression is especially prevalent among the elderly and may be hard to differentiate from dementia symptoms. If you suspect your aging parent might be depressed, it’s essential that they undergo formal neuropsychiatric evaluation as soon as possible. Bipolar disorder also poses risks; therefore it is vital that treatment for its symptoms be sought as soon as possible.

Many mental disorders can impair someone’s ability to care for themselves. When this happens, they may require a power of attorney or be at risk and should move into long-term care facilities as a precautionary measure.

It is crucial for families of individuals suffering from mental illnesses to keep in regular communication with their medical team regarding treatment progress, to manage any side effects effectively and keep track of overall progress over time.

Researchers involved with this pilot study plan to extend their efforts with a larger, methodologically rigorous efficacy trial of their intervention. If their future work reveals its success, social workers who serve this population will have an additional tool at their disposal for helping their clients. Unfortunately, mental illness stigma often discourages people from participating in clinical studies.

Getting Help When Needed

While it is natural to want your parents to remain independent, taking on caregiving duties should not consume all your energies physically and emotionally. If you find that caring for loved ones on your own becomes too much to bear, reach out for assistance from family, friends, local senior support groups or community members in similar situations.

POLST forms allow aging adults to communicate to all of their healthcare providers their wishes for end-of-life treatment, helping to avoid conflicts during a crisis situation.

Attractively demonstrate your concern for their wellbeing is by hiring professionals to educate and assist with making adjustments or arranging care services. Financial advisors may teach your aging parent how to create budgets or set up their finances; home health aides may assist with daily tasks, like bathing, eating or grooming needs.

To effectively address stubborn parents, it can often be best to start small and work your way towards more drastic solutions. They will likely respond better if you gradually reveal all available solutions; eventually they may realize their quality of life relies on you getting them the help necessary.

Taking Care of Yourself

Many adult children find themselves caring for both themselves and an elderly parent at once, which can create significant amounts of stress and emotional exhaustion. It’s essential that both you and your parent take care of themselves; at the same time, it’s also vital that you recognize when it may be time to step in or arrange extra assistance – for instance noticing when social engagements have decreased or payments missed altogether are missed so as to recognize when external help such as nurses or care managers is necessary.

Set boundaries and understand that you cannot do everything yourself. For instance, if your parent is at risk for falling or becoming injured, remove items from their home that could act as trip hazards and take other steps such as making sure all cords are out of reach, adding brighter lighting in their bathroom/stairs area and installing grab bars if applicable.

Consider employing methods that encourage physical self-care, like getting enough restful sleep and eating healthful meals. Feeling tired will prevent you from providing assistance to an elderly relative. Also important as a caregiver is seeking support – for instance by seeking guidance from family counselors, local agencies on aging or using Benefits Checkup’s senior programs database to explore local programs that could benefit both you and the elder.

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