Aging is inevitable and affects every person alive–particularly families. As children grow and become adults with senior parents, sometimes they don’t think of them as growing elderly or needing elder care. Particularly if their senior parents are already older, and living independently and doing it well. However, for everyone, the need for extended care will come, no matter how self-sufficient they may seem.
When someone’s physical and mental wellbeing begins to decline due to aging naturally, sometimes that can drastically change a person. Their looks, standard of care, and mental health can be affected negatively. That is why the more that we all accept the inevitable–that we will all age and that we all will need help during that time–and the more education we have about it, the easier the entire process will be. There are certain essentials that need to be taken care of when this occurs and acknowledge how in-home care can make a huge difference in the quality of life for any senior citizen.
Consider These Things
The ultimate wish of an adult child is that their elderly parents are well cared for and safe as they age and still live in their own home. That their emotional, physical, and mental state are healthy and being taken care of is a huge concern for most.
ADLs (the Activities of Daily Living)
To ensure the mental and physical wellbeing of senior parents, as well as their dignity, it is important to know that their every day, daily needs are being taken care of and met. These activities, the ADLs that all senior citizens want to continue doing for themselves include:
Maintaining their Functional Mobility e.g. being able to get up and down, go to the bathroom by themselves, etc
Showing and/or bathing themselves
Maintaining their Personal Hygiene e.g. brushing their teeth, shaving, and otherwise keeping themselves groomed
Maintaining their Toilet Hygiene e.g. being able to wipe themselves, getting to and from the toilet, etc
If their mobility is impaired in any way, then they will have issues performing any or all of these activities by themselves. This is where the adult child will have to step in and find them help. Whether it is the adult child performing the role themselves or if it’s hiring someone, it needs to be done. Luckily there are several options available now so that you don’t have to make one choice or the other right away.
IADLs e.g. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
There are some ADL activities that, while important, are not essential to the overall function and mobility of a senior parent, yet these activities are related to the independence of the senior parent. They are called IADLs e.g. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. Some examples include:
Cooking themselves meals
Running their own errands
Paying their bills and managing their money
Cleaning their home
Communicating through the phone or other electronic devices
Taking medication as prescribed
The overall wellbeing of the senior parent depends on how their ADLs are being fulfilled while they are still in their own home–effectively and consistently. If they cannot do these tasks on their own, then they will need some form of help–whether it is another person or some kind of tool to help them. There are several devices and technology, as well as entire communities of people, that are geared towards helping seniors maintain their independence. The first step towards this is being honest about the level of care your senior parent needs to survive and thrive.
Senior Parents Living Arrangements
To ensure their wellbeing, it is important to first look at where and how your senior parent is living and how they are getting on. Do they live by themselves? Are they close to any family members who are willing to help them if needed? Do they want to stay in their own home or are they open to the possibility of moving in with another family member or elderly community? This is a serious conversation that should not be undertaken lightly by anybody. The following is an overview of the most common living arrangements that seniors live their last years out.
Staying at Home
The majority of senior citizens prefer to live in their homes as long as possible, and usually will need many adjustments to their daily lives–whether this is investing in technology to help or having a caregiver move in–to make this happen safely.
Communities: Independent Living
Some seniors, who are independent, active, and used to moving (having previously lived in condos or apartments) will either rent or buy a house or apartment in a retirement community that is filled with people just like them. These communities provide extra amenities such as yard maintenance, gym, transportation, security, group activities, and everything else besides medical services.
Communities: Assisted Living
This is an option for seniors who are still relatively independent but need help throughout their daily activities e.g. bathing, dressing, eating, walking, going to the bathroom, etc. A room or apartment rental with the same amenities as people who live in independent living communities.
This is an option for those who need medical services, but do not need to be in the hospital e.g. short term, palliative care or chronic conditions that need to be consistently treated. This option gives the senior citizen an on call, 24 hours a day, nursing staff, with Medicaid paying for 70% of seniors’ care, but Medicare does not pay for their nursing home care.
Living with Family
Some seniors need help to carry out their activities, along with some non-skilled medical care–this is when the perfect option for them is to live with a family member, who can offer them unconditional love and support through their deeper, personal relationship.
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