The following article was kindly written and contributed by Lewis Robinson.
Today, through modern advancements in healthcare and technology, many people can live well into their 80s and 90s. However, reaching this age comes with its own challenges.
If your parents are beginning to age and experience some changes, you may be wondering what the next steps are. Providing your aging loved ones with the best care possible is a very achievable goal.
The first thing many people see deteriorate is their loved one's memory. Memory care is particularly important for the elderly - losing your memory can be very traumatic and can lead to depression. Memory is also something that will continue to get worse as your loved one ages, meaning you may have to step in and provide help. If your loved one has bad dementia, you may consider keeping a detailed calendar for them as well as a labelled photo album. This lets your loved ones see exactly what is happening every day as well as match faces and names to their loved ones.
It is important for all people to be active and is especially important for the aging population. Even though they may not be able to stay active for long periods of time, it is essential for the elderly to continue to use their muscles. If your loved ones are still able to walk, simply walking around the mall or park is great, simple exercise. It is also important that aging loved ones continue to exercise their minds. By doing activity that involves thinking, such as gardening, crocheting, or word puzzles, your loved ones' mind can remain sharp. Studies have even shown that doing crossword puzzles helps to delay dementia.
Something that people take for granted is how much we need other people to talk to and interact with. Older people need just as much social interaction but are often unable to get what they need due to health or mobility issues. If you can visit your parents or elderly loved ones regularly, you are sure to make their day. It is also a great opportunity to learn more about the past and take the time to reflect on how much has changed since your loved ones were young.
If you are unable to spend much time with your elderly loved ones, you might consider moving them to an elderly care facility. Here, your loved ones would get to interact with people their age every day. They may even make some new friends.
Although your loved ones will need more assistance and help as they continue to age, it is important to let them still have some form of independence. Whether this is allowing them to choose what they want to eat every day or letting them pick out their activities for the day, the elderly still need to have some control over their lives. Especially as their memories and health continue to fail, you need to be sure to allow your loved ones to have some sort of freedom.
If your loved one has poor memory, something you can do to allow them to have freedom is make a list of activities they can do each day. This allows them to see what things they can do and choose whatever seems most interesting to them.
The last, but maybe most important thing to understand when caring for your aging loved one is that their health is going to continue to decline. Find a good doctor for your loved one and, if needed, find a home care nurse as well. Be sure to keep all your loved one’s medicines clearly labelled and organised. It is also important to organise regular eye, hearing, and heart tests.
It can be difficult to watch your loved ones age. However, getting older is a blessing and something to be thankful for.