Being able to provide comfort and care for aging parents is a goal that many people have in their adulthood. Caring for family as they get older can be rewarding and beautiful, however, it can be time-consuming, difficult, and overall add stress to an already busy life. Moreover, not everyone has the medical knowledge, skills, or knows the importance of elderly care services that are needed to care for aging parents. However, even so, parents and family remain grateful for the children and other relatives that are able to care for them in their time of need and dedicate time to their well-being. In fact, roughly 62% of people report feeling grateful for their children and family, showing just how prevalent taking care of an aging parent or relative is.
As mentioned, not everyone has the medical knowledge and skills to care for an aging relative. In addition, busy lifestyles full of taking care of children, maintaining a home, expanding careers, and even attending school again can all add to one’s inability to care for their parents. In these times, it’s crucial to understand the importance of elderly care services and understand the options that one has to care for their aging parents. Though you can care for your aging relatives at home, there is always the option of seeking long-term care at a skilled nursing facility to provide medical care to your loved one. Besides skilled nursing facilities, having an in-home nurse to provide health care services to your aging parents or relatives is a great option if you’d still like extra help in caring for them. Nevertheless, whether you’re dealing with medical services, financial planning, business planning, or any other pressing matters, it’s important to get help from a professional to provide the right services to you and your family. If you find yourself wondering what the importance of elderly care services is, doing a bit of research into resources in your area can be beneficial. Here is a list of 15 things you should consider when caring for an aging loved one, including medical, legal, and comfortable living services.
1. Visit Doctors Regularly
The importance of elderly care services begins with visiting the right medical professionals regularly. As your parent or loved one ages, it can be difficult for them to fully remember all their upcoming appointments. Make sure to have a system where you can organize and help your aging relatives keep track of doctor’s appointments. A print-out from the doctor’s office of upcoming appointments can be useful. In addition, help attend their medical appointments in order to understand the condition of your loved one, and if need be to help translate if there is a language barrier as well.
2. Keep up with Medication
Medications are essential to help your aging parents cope with illnesses, chronic diseases, and pain. As memory skills begin to decrease, it becomes harder and harder for parents to be able to remember to take their medication at the appropriate times. Even with organized pillboxes, calendars, and alarms, taking medication can be a challenge. If you are able to, make sure to keep track of all medications that your parents are taking, and ensure that they have not overdosed or double-dosed on medications as well. Hiring an assisted living at home nurse can help tremendously to simply help administer medication.
3. Hiring a Care-Giver
As we mentioned above, the importance of elderly care services is that it helps in taking care of simple tasks such as medications. Even hiring a caregiver for 3-4 hours a day to care for your aging parent can be beneficial. However, if you can afford it, seeking a full-time caregiver to do routing assisted living at home chores such as medications, bathing, dressing, and keeping your parent company is all important when considering your aging loved one’s well-being. Talk to your insurance company to see if you are eligible to get help for a care-giver, and ensure your caregiver is a licensed CNA, LVN, or RN depending on the level of care your loved one needs.
4. Considering Senior Housing
If your aging relative wants to be more independent and live on their own, senior housing is a great benefit and can help in easing their transition into independent living. Senior housing costs are low, and living in senior housing can help your relatives become friendly and develop support with other elderly residents. In addition, living in senior housing lets your aging relative enjoy living at home while not having to worry about maintenance on their home, landscape, and other physically demanding chores around the home.
5. Considering Skilled Nursing Facilities
If you are not able to care for your loved one at home, and they cannot be independent by themselves, it should be time to consider a skilled nursing facility to provide senior care services for your relative. A skilled nursing facility provides around the clock medical care for your loved one, which is of the highest importance of elderly care services. Skilled nursing facilities can be covered by insurance, and a plethora of reviews exist online from other family members and their experience with a particular nursing home. Whatever facility you choose, ensure that their doctors are highly rated, that nurses and caregivers greet you amicably when you visit, and that it remains clean and secure in order to keep your elderly family members safe. Different facilities can also cater to different levels of care that your family needs, such as physical rehabilitation, mental health services, and even care for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
6. Senior Recreation Activities
As your aging relatives get older, it can be harder and harder for them to enjoy doing physical activities necessary stay healthy. However, senior workout classes, swimming classes catering to the elderly, yoga, and other programs are all available to help keep your aging loved one healthy and in shape. Besides the health benefits of senior exercise programs, mental health benefits are plentiful. Regular exercise has been shown to boost endorphins, which help keep mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression at bay. If your loved one lives with you, make arrangements to attend these classes, or explore other recreational activities such as art, meditation, singing, dancing, or anything else that keeps your loved ones happy and active.
7. Accessories for Daily Living
As adults, it’s easy for us to dress, grab our keys, go out into the world, and come back home with ease. However, the importance of elderly care services is ensuring that we keep track of all the little things our aging relatives need for their day, including proper clothes, accessories, and money. For instance, if your aging loved one suffers from anemia, dressing them warmly can help keep them comfortable. Ensuring your aging relatives remember their hearing aids, walkers, cell-phones, dentures, wallets, and everything in between is all crucial also. Keep track of all the accessories your relative uses throughout the day, and ensure it is all accessible to them should they leave the house on their own.
8. Using Holistic Medicine
The importance of elderly care services is utilizing every option in order to ensure our aging relatives find solutions for their pain, chronic diseases, and any other issues that get in the way of their comfort. Exhausting every option means turning to holistic medicine, natural remedies, and other natural therapies that can all add on to traditional medicine to give support to our aging loved ones. For instance, if your loved one complains that pain medication is not helping, perhaps acupuncture or using natural pain and fatigue relief cream can all help. Make sure you are dedicated to finding a solution for your loved one and continue to seek help for any ailments that are still causing your elderly relatives trouble.
9. Joining Support Groups
One of the things to consider with the importance of elderly care services is knowing how they can help your loved one not feel so alone when dealing with their aging lifestyle. Support groups are now widely available for anything from alcoholics anonymous, to grief, and even elderly support groups. If your loved one cannot physically attend groups, telemedicine implementation can help so they can participate in support groups regardless of where they are physically. Consider signing your loved one up for groups if they express feelings of isolation or depression, and reach out to programs for meeting times.
10. Eating Healthy
Healthy eating is of the utmost importance to elderly care services. Eating healthy involves having a balanced diet, keeping track of sodium levels, diabetes, and other special diets that your elderly loved one might partake in. If you’re caring for a relative at home, try your best to cook foods that are rich in vitamins, easy to digest, and are full of fiber in order to help your loved one process foods easily. Prune juices, legumes, and papaya are just some of the foods that can help the elderly process foods easier and avoid digestive discomfort. Consider using protein and meal-replacement shakes such as Ensure if your loved one doesn’t have the ability to eat regular meals as well, or if they are at a low weight. Always consult with your relative’s physician to see what foods to avoid and add to their diet.
11. Having Reliable Transportation
Reliable transportation is needed in order to let your loved ones get to and from medical appointments, visit other relatives, or simply go out and have a good time. Having a motorized scooter can be helpful in making your loved ones more mobile. A simple wheelchair that doesn’t stick easily can be just as good also. More importantly, ensure any vehicles have a wheelchair lift or are easy to get your relatives in and out of on a daily basis. Power Vans are now widely available and can help fit wheelchairs in order to transport your loved ones safely.
12. Settling Legal Matters
Besides medical considerations, the importance of elderly care services is settling any legal matters while your loved one is still alive and able to remember important details, in addition to expressing their final wishes. A wills and trusts lawyer can help you and your family navigate through legal documents and proceedings to ensure that your loved one’s last will and testament are ready to go before their passing. Last will and testaments should be handled by your loved one and their attorney, but helping with your loved one’s decision making can prove to be crucial in making the process of settling up a will a little less stressful.
13. Caring for Financial Matters
Just like handling last wills and testaments, outstanding financial matters such as outstanding debt, selling off of assets, selling a business, and any other financial matters should also be settled as soon as possible by you and your elderly relatives. A financial accountant, business consultant, and even legal attorneys can all be necessary in order to accurately handle financial matters.
14. Planning for Funeral Arrangements
Though you might not want to think of it, the importance of elderly care services is that it allows you to help with funeral planning ahead of time. Funeral planning is essential in order to allow your loved one to express their final plans and to make sure there is enough money to help allow their last wishes to be put into place. Whether your loved one wants a certain casket, wants to be cremated, or wishes to donate their body to science, take the time to discuss with your aging relative their options and wishes, and make sure to do everything possible to help in making their wishes a reality.
15. Remodeling the Home
Finally, the importance of elderly care services is knowing how to remodel your home in order to accommodate for a loved one. Install ramps, stair-lifts, and hardwood floors in order to make it easier for your loved ones to move around. Installing a walk-in shower tub, and easy-to-use kitchen appliances can also prove to be beneficial in preventing accidents, slips and falls, and simply making the life of your elderly relative easier.