Taking the Right Steps to Help an Aging Family Member
Watching a parent or elder family member become dependent on others can be difficult for the entire family to witness. In these times, it’s important to make clear decisions keeping in mind the best interests of the aging family member. In this article, we’ll share a few tips on how to take the right steps during this sensitive time.
Activities of daily living
As our loved ones grow in age, they can sometimes have difficulty doing the basic day-to-day activities that we all take for granted. This can cause strain on other family members but, more significantly, it can be frustrating to those individuals who now find themselves relying on others for seemingly simple tasks.
During this time, it’s important to provide healthy and ongoing support for your family member to ensure that their needs are met along with helping to reassure them of the circumstances.
It’s important to take proactive steps to ensure both physical safety as well as any potential vulnerabilities. Regarding physical safety, this could include having measures in place in the event of an accident in the home or while out in public.
Regarding vulnerabilities, you would want to educate aging family members of potential threats using advanced technology such as phone or email scammers that actively seek out and try to take advantage of elderly people.
Health and medical issues
Oftentimes people become more concerned with health and medical-related issues as they begin to age. Whether related to serious illness, chronic issues, need for medication, or other reasons for health monitoring, it’s important to have these important discussions with an aging family member and take the necessary steps.
In some more severe cases, specialized care like hospice might need to be a topic of discussion.
Financial and legal matters
If an older family member is having difficulty managing monthly finances or there are important legal matters that need to be tended to, it would be prudent to have these discussions ahead of time. In some cases, it might be helpful to assign a trusted family member to look after these key areas before issues arise.
Many seniors continue to live on their own well into old age, however, as time goes on some people do need extra assistance around the house. In that case, family members should discuss whether the elderly member is able to live on their own or determine if other accommodations need to be made. A suggestion here would be to have the individual move in with a family member who would be able to provide extra care and attention during those later years of life.
Ensuring overall quality of life
Just because a person is growing older does not mean that the fun has to stop. Ensuring that the elderly family member still participates in regular activities that bring a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment can be crucial for the mental and emotional well-being of the person.
Managing healthy relationships
It can be common for well-intended caregivers and family members to argue over decisions or proper courses of action. During these difficult circumstances, keeping clear and open lines of communication with all decision-makers and parties involved should be a high priority.