As Baby Boomers watch their parents age and become dependent on them for care, it is a difficult time for all family members. Many seniors may not be fully aware they are losing their faculties and it may be hard for them to be cared for when they’ve spent their lives as the caregivers.
Caring for the elderly, especially when it’s your own parents is a stress inducer. When the roles are reversed and the children are now in the role of caregiver rather than the ones being cared for, it’s awkward for all parties involved. Parents or other aging loved ones may not be receptive to the new interference in their lives and help in managing their day-to-day activities. To make a smooth transition from care provider to care recipient, show your loved one love and treat them with respect, even though they may be tough to deal with or due to health or mental status they may act like children.
In some instances, friction arises when you’re trying to convince your parents that they either need you to come in and help with housekeeping, paying bills, cooking, or even going so far as to hire in home healthcare aides. The conversations need to be approached with care and need to focus on your desire to help relieve some of the burdens and anxieties. Tell your aging relatives, in a non confrontational way, that you’ve noticed some issues with their health; chances are, they’re aware of it but simply don’t want to admit it.
If your aging relatives have suffered health issues, you need to work with them on age-proofing their home to address potential any slip or fall issues. Whether your parents are aware of it, individuals over the age of 65 are more likely than any other segment of the population to suffer a slip or fall accident which can lead to a permanent disability or even death. If they are determined to age in place, they will need to make modifications to their home and its design to make it more senior-friendly. You will want to do a thorough inspection of the home and check for any potential slip or fall hazards such as:
- Loose or slippery carpets
- Electrical cords in walkways
- Items in cupboards that are too high to reach without having to climb on a step stool
Added safety measures include:
- Equipping the bathroom with non slip carpets, hand grips and even a seat for ease in showering
- Installing a home medical emergency monitoring system. These are great for aging individuals as they are equipped with a waterproof medical alert pendant and if they slip or fall or suffer another health emergency, at the push of a button help will be alerted and emergency medical personnel dispatched if needed. The use of home medical emergency monitoring systems allows many elderly to stay home for much longer and offers all parties peace of mind
Make your relatives a part of the solution when helping them age in their own home. Don’t simply come in, take over and make wholesale changes to their home and their lifestyle. Bear in mind, they are accustomed to being the caregiver and if treated with respect, they will be receptive to the changes you’re implementing and will be more likely to ask for help in the future.