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None of us can truly prepare ourselves for when our parents get older and can’t be totally independent anymore. That is when we, as children, must step in. Moving elderly parents from their homes into assisted living facilities or nursing homes can be tough. As a matter of fact, making this decision is one of the hardest a child will ever have to make.
Many seniors believe that they can live alone and take care of themselves forever. That’s definitely unrealistic, and at some point your loved ones will need professional assistance and assisted care. Start by opening the line of communication, and be gentle with words like “nursing home“, “homecare”, and “assisted living”. Though you cannot foresee their reaction, talking about the matter will help you make a smoother transition.
The elderly should be provided with top-quality care. Things have evolved over the past 15 years, and many nursing homes today can offer seniors the best assisted care. Children should also learn to deal with the guilt of placing a senior in a home. It’s tough, but if there are signs that your loved one cannot live alone any longer, you have to take matters into your own hands and approach the subject of assisted care. Here are some obvious signs that your parents may need help right now.
Signs of memory loss
Elderly people seem to have short term memory loss. They can’t remember, in detail, what happened many years ago. Depending on the severity of their condition, the doctor might want to check for Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Have you noticed shortness of breath as they are trying to get around? Possibly, they are starting to stagger. Maybe it’s time for a cane or walker. Are they having trouble getting out of the bathtub? You probably need to put rails on the tub walls to give them something to pull up on.
Eating problems & isolation
With age, comes the bigger need to drink lots of water. It is very easy for the elderly to become dehydrated. It’s possible that they’re forgetting to eat or just not cooking. Whatever the reason, watch their weight, the pounds will shed very quickly.
Have you noticed that your parent is pulling away from society? Talk to them, find out the reason. Maybe you should get them involved in community activities with people their own age. If it seems deeper than that, maybe they are getting depressed. Set them up with a therapist or psychologist.
Is Mom wearing the same clothes that she had on 3 days ago? When was Dad’s hair combed last? There could be several reasons for this: physical problems, depression, or even Alzheimer’s. Talk to your parents and then take them to see a doctor. Studies show that people with Alzheimer’s turn on the ones closest to them.
Falls are the absolute worst in elderly people; their bones are incredibly brittle and easily broken. It takes such a long time for them to heal. However, it seems like you get them over one illness, just to start a new one. The older they get, the thinner their skin becomes. This could be a definite sign that they are having difficulty taking care of themselves.
Do you live close to your parents? If you live a distance away, you won’t be able to see these things as well as someone who might be with them daily. It’s time to come together as a family and take care of your parents. The job of a caretaker can be extremely demanding, which means you are advised to talk to your siblings, too; take turns and give each other rest.
Many seniors don’t want to admit that they need help. After a certain age, taking care of themselves and living alone becomes impossible. Elder people want to keep their independence for as long as possible, even if that often means living in denial. It is a child’s duty to help parents accept assistance. Start by opening up a conversation, talk about home care and nursing homes, and try to make your loved one understand that they can’t live alone any longer. Give them time to get used to the idea and look for free social services that can help you look after your parents.