“Care-versation!” How to Help Your Parents Stay Independent While Living Alone

Seniors at Home -Are Mom and Dad resisting your help because they fear losing their independence? Time to have a “care-versation!”

The first step to take with Senior loved ones should be to let them know you understand the new challenges they are facing as time marches on and how frustrating it must be that familial roles are changing, but you are not trying to control them. However, since safety comes first, also discuss the risks of falls, car accidents, financial fraud and isolation due to the circumstances of aging. Let them know there are tools and resources available that can improve the quality of their life and that considering some suggestions and accepting your assistance is not a sign of weakness.

Your Senior Survival Toolbox:

Technology has improved and there are many devices today that can assist families with impaired but independent Senior loved ones. These devices range from panic pendants or wrist alert systems to “Granny-cams” and automatic lighting as well as appliances. There are excellent phones and hearing aides for the hearing impaired, comapre Amazon, Best Buy, and Audiology With a Heart. Products for those with low vision and macular include reading and video magnifiers, talking clocks and computer software solutions, start off with www.enhancedvision.com. Another few helpful websites are www.activeforever.comwww.aidsforarthritis.com, and www.absoluteautomation.com which all have gadgets to improve any Senior’s ability to live alone! And point out to Mom and Dad that why should they drive if it’s dangerous, when they can Uber???!!!

Let your parents know that their social connections can be just as active adult aging wiselyimportant to their health as nutrition, exercise, and medication management. Isolation can lead to cognitive decline and depression, so urge them to continue to meet with friends and play cards, go shopping or to the movies, but maybe with a companion or aide to accompany them from now on. They may feel more independent with a companion accompanying or driving them instead of you because they will still feel in control.

Consider enrolling your parents in a Senior Activity Center or Church/Synagogue group that offers meaningful activities and cultural day trips, even chair exercises or Senior Yoga. It will offer stimulation as well as social connections and get Mom and Dad out of the house. Often transportation can be arranged without issue at a reasonable price and meals can be provided as well.

When daily activities like bathing, dressing, taking medications, housecleaning and cooking become difficult, the situation becomes a bit more complex especially if you are an adult child who is a working professional and simultaneously juggling a job, caring for Senior parents, a spouse and their own children at the same time. Keep in mind there are licensed service providers like a Home Health Agency that can provide aides and companions, even care mangers to assist with personal care, medication management, doctor’s appointments, housekeeping and transport. An agency can help you cope because as Senior advocates they understand that private duty long term care and nursing is an integral part of the puzzle needed to allow Seniors to age well and comfortably in the home.

Home Health Aide for Parkinson's or Alzheimer's

Remember that transition to an independent  living facility can be expensive, and your parents may still be enjoying their retirement and not ready to “downsize” or leave their home just yet. Remember there are many resources that can help you reduce the risks of living alone for your parents – it may just take some patience to implement the tools when you find them.

If you are worried because you are witnessing a gradual cognitive and physical decline in your parents and need some practical advice, you may want to read our prior article How to Stop Bullying Your Aging Parents! It has some great tips on how to get started with your “care-versation.”

Contact Us: It’s not always easy to know what aging parents expect or need from their adult children. To avoid confrontation, communication is key. Stop being a “bully” to your senior loved ones, remember to treat them with respect while they are trying to protect their independence. It is especially frustrating for families when cognitive and physical impairment begins to set in and family roles are changing. That is when a Home Health Agency such as Regal becomes invaluable. After an assessment, as a neutral third party, our professionals can advise Mom or Dad whether driving is dangerous or grab bars in the bath will be a benefit. And should your parents need more in-home support on a daily basis, Regal provides a broad spectrum of home health services to families tailored to meet their specific needs, as well as those of the parent, their personality and their pocketbook. Contact Ferial Andre, RN, CCM, CDP, for more information at 561-499-8382 or ferialandre@regalcares.com.

This article is not intended as medical, legal, or financial advice.


Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 03:08 PM