Many people require caregiving support as they age.
You are getting older.
This means your parents are also getting older.
As people age, their minds and bodies begin to wear down.
When this happens, full independence may no longer be an option.
According to an AARP article titled “5 Signs Your Loved One May Need Caregiving Support,” there are several indicators your parent may require help.
What should you consider?
Your parents home may have been great for raising a family or for enjoying the early years of retirement.
Now, however, that same home may be less suitable for elderly individuals.
Poor lighting, stairs without railings, slick floors, and clutter can increase the likelihood of injuries cause by falls.
One way to provide caregiving support in this situation is to hire the services of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, aging life care specialist, or certified aging in place specialist.
These specialists and therapists can evaluate the home environment as well as the needs and abilities of your parents.
Recommendations can be made for physical exercises and modifications to the home.
Your parents may be cognitively, emotionally, or physically incapable of dealing with bills and daily mail, let alone legal or financial documents.
If these are laying around disorganized or unopened, you should investigate the issue.
The problem could be temporary and simply require you to help sort and prioritize mail.
If the situation is more serious, estate planning can help you provide caregiving support.
With advance health care directives and a general durable powers of attorney, you can help your parents manage their personal, health care, and financial matters.
Motor vehicle accidents and tickets.
Have you parents been in more accidents recently?
If yes, you may need to have a hard conversation about whether it is wise for them to continue driving.
In some instances, merely refreshing skills through a driver safety course can help.
If this is not a viable option, help them find alternative transportation to support their independence.
This is a really tough transition.
After all, in our culture car key = freedom.
Isolation and disconnection.
Disconnection from friends, family, and the community can carry significant risks.
This alone may be evidence of a deteriorating support system.
Against the backdrop of this whole pandemic nightmare, this deterioration is on steroids.
To combat mental and physical risks, help your parents find activities they would enjoy.
Calling or video chatting frequently can be another source of caregiving support.
Sometimes the causes of social withdrawal also may have a physical component.
Getting a hearing screening can rule out this hinderance to communication.
If your folks wear hearing aids, be very mindful of the fact that mask wearing can “slingshot” behind the ear hearing aids into the next county.
I know from personal experience, having nearly lost them at least half-a-dozen times since mask wearing became mandatory.
A change in appearance.
Fluctuations in weight can suggest health issues.
Similarly, a decrease in personal hygiene can also signal medical or psychological problems.
Physical and mental screenings can expose causes for these changes.
These may include depression, anxiety, loss of smell, declining vision, or mobility restriction.
Each of these can negatively impact the ability of your parents to care for themselves.
If you recognize any of these needs for caregiving support, discuss them with your parents.
The purpose is not to remove the rights of you cherished parents, but to prolong independence as long as possible.
As always, remember: your children are watching.
Reference: AARP (Dec. 12, 2016) “5 Signs Your Loved One May Need Caregiving Support”