Thursday, October 1, 2020

5 Ways to Help Your Aging Parents.

August 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Health, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( As you get older, your parents do, too. It’s an inevitable part of life, but it can be difficult to accept this big change for many children. Even as this transition comes in overwhelming waves, there are ways to make this process easier for both you and your parent. Keep on reading for five different ways to assist your aging parent with the best care possible.

1. Ensure their safety.

As your parent ages, they are at risk by doing simple tasks that you do every day without thinking twice. You want to make sure that your parent is living a good life, but if their home has common hazards like stairs, it’s worth considering accommodations to make their risk factors and potential injuries much lower. If possible, create a bedroom on the first floor of a home for them if going up and down the stairs is too much. Another option that can be difficult is to consider sending your parent to an assisted living facility. If your parent cannot take care of themselves or they’re a danger to themselves, it’s worth looking into this sort of living arrangement so they are safe. Your healthcare provider may be able to offer valuable advice on which of these is the best option for your parent.

2. Help them decide if a viatical settlement is right for them.

Viatical settlements are sought by people with low life expectancy or terminal illness. This involves selling your life insurance policy to a third party to get a cash sum. This may be a good option if your parent only has a few years left to live. American Life Fund can buy out your parent’s viatical settlement sum. This might help your parent feel peace knowing that their funeral expenses, medical expenses, and housing costs are taken care of once they pass. This might feel a bit somber, but in reality, your parent is aware of their outcome. Many times, the owner of the policy sells their viatical to companies like American Life Fund so that so their family is not left with their costly bills. If it makes your parent feel more at ease, it’s worth considering.

3. Spend time with them.

If you can, you should spend quality time with your parent. It’s an individual responsibility that you assume. You can speak to them over the phone once a day as a check-in phone call. You can also do things they enjoy with them. For example, you can look through old photos together, help cook, or watch their favorite movie with them. It seems simple, but as their child, your parent craves this one on one interaction with you no matter your age. If you can’t physically spend copious amounts of time with your parent, explore the option of a caretaker if it’s in their best interest to have someone with them continuously.

4. Always stay on top of medical issues.

As your parents age, medical problems may stack up. It’s crucial that you continuously check in with your parents’ healthcare provider to keep them healthy and safe. One common thing to look out for in your parent is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a serious bone disease. It can cause low bone density, reduction in bone mass, and overall bone loss. This is a common diagnosis in elderly patients. Studies show that 54 million people in the United States have it. It can lead to bone fractures of the hip, forearm, and can even affect their spine.

To check for osteoporosis, your parent should get a bone density test which can determine if your parent has osteoporosis. It is reportedly common for female cancer patients to experience osteoporosis due to a drop in hormone levels like estrogen. Bone density scans are completed by experts like those at Hunterdon Radiological Associates. The scan’s technical name is a bone densitometry test or DEXA or Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry. These bone density scans are non-invasive and take about twenty minutes. Once the bone scan is completed, your healthcare provider can determine your bone mineral density to assess your parent’s needs. By staying on top of their health in this way, you can keep their quality of life better by managing symptoms before they get severe.

5. Foster interaction.

Your parent may be aging, but they still need to interact with people outside of you and their caretakers. Take a moment to be empathetic and think about what their every day entails. For many elderly parents, they don’t get to see or speak with many people. You can foster more interaction to brighten their spirits by spending one day a week with them. You can bring your family to visit, take them to a restaurant, or go for a brief walk. Your parent would also love to see your children or maybe even your close family friends. No matter what you decide to do, make sure your parent gets to socialize with others so they feel less isolated and surrounded by love.

When caring for your aging parent feels overwhelming, remember that the answer to helping them live a better life can be as simple as spending time with them and assisting them in their daily life. While doing this and preparing for their medical and financial future, you can make your parent feel at peace.

Staff Writer; Craig Ross

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