5 Things to Know About Caring for Aging Parents - An online health& Fitness Blog to know more about health, fitness & food.

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5 Things to Know About Caring for Aging Parents

Americans are living longer than ever before!

For some states, life expectancy rates have gone up 3 years. However, other states' life expectancy rates jumped up by as much as 9 years! For instance, North Carolina residents use to live an average of 72 years, but now they’re expected to live closer to 80 years on average.

As life expectancy rates continue to rise, more and more children will have to learn how to care for parents. From providing light at-home care to helping your parents transition into a nursing home, elderly care looks different for every family. To help you determine what your senior care plan should look like, we’ve created this short guide.

Read on to learn all about caring for parents as they age.

1. Determine What Level of Care Is Necessary

You can start by distinguishing between the different levels of care for parents. Do you think your parents need a lot of help, or do they just need assistance now and then? One of the best ways to figure out what category your parents fall into is by creating a list of tasks they need help with.

We suggest you break up the tasks into daily, weekly, and monthly lists. If you find the lists keep growing and growing, it may be time to consider in-home care or nursing home options.

Signs Its Time for a Nursing Home

Are one of your parents dealing with a mental health condition such as dementia? If the dementia’s causing your parent to wander off, or have violent episodes, it may be time to explore senior living centers. There are plenty of high-quality nursing homes out there that specialize in helping residents who have conditions such as Alzheimer's or dementia.

2. Providing at Home Care

Are you planning on helping your parents from the comfort of their home? At the early stages of aging, a simple weekly visit and a daily phone call can be enough. When you call your parents, you can ask questions to help you assess how they’re doing. When you visit your parents, you can also casually assess their living situation.

Is the home clean? Do they have fresh food in the fridge? If the house is dirty and the fridge is full of leftover take-out meals, it could be signs that your parents having a hard time completing daily tasks. If this is the case, you may need to do more than make a weekly visit.

Instead, it may be time to start enlisting help. By working together as a team, the entire family can help with things like groceries, doctor appointments, and house cleaning. If your parent’s suffering from a terminal health condition, you can also look into learning how to care for the elderly at home with hospice.

Next, you’ll want to learn how to provide quick and easy meals, so your parents don’t suffer from malnutrition. Great ideas for breakfast include things like whole-grain waffles, fruit smoothies, and steel-cut oats with fresh fruit. Are your parents able to cook for themselves? If yes then help your parents learn a few new nutritional recipes they can make in less than an hour.

Finally, if it’s time for your Mom and Dad to turn over the car keys, you’ll want to create a safe driving plan so they can still get around. There are a lot of different senior transportation services out there, as long as you’re willing to look.

3. The Power of a Social Life

The rate of cognitive decline in seniors is 70% less in people who have an active social life. Keeping your parents socially active will also help them stay more mobile and health-conscious.

To help your parents avoid social isolation, it’s helpful if you encourage them to participate in hobbies and interests they enjoy. Or, if your parents are spiritual, find a place of worship they can attend near the home.

Another way to help your parents stay engaged is to buy them a plant or pet they can take care of. However, make sure the pet won’t require a level of care that will be overwhelming for your parents. For instance, a low energy lap dog would be preferable over a high strung boxer.

4. What if Your Parents Resist Help?

Learning how to care for your parents is great, but what if your parents refuse to accept the help you’re offering? The key to winning over a resistant parent is patience. It may take a while for your parent to adjust to the changes that taking place in their life.

Instead of rushing them, give your parents some time to think about the different types of help you’re offering. Next, let your Mom and Dad know you’re on their side. You can avoid arguments by reminding everyone, including yourself, that working together is the best solution.

5. Don’t Wear Yourself Thin

Last but not least, one of the most important aspects of caring for your parents is remembering to care for yourself. Trying to juggle the daily tasks of caregiving for your parents, while also maintaining your own life can be overwhelming.

If you don’t take time to provide self-care, you’ll wind up burnt out and full of resentment. Examples of self-care include things like getting enough sleep, eating well, and having days off from helping others.

Provide the Best Care for Parents

After reading this article, what are you going to do first to help your parents have a better life? Are you thinking about exploring nursing home options? Or are you going to look for ways your parents can be more active members of the community?

Since knowing where you stand is the first step towards providing care for parents, go ahead and start writing out all of the caregiving tasks. Next, start exploring ways you can get help so you're not doing it all alone. For more helpful insights, check out the rest of this site.

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