Caring For Your Parents

It can be very difficult coming to terms with the fact that your elderly parents need care. Changes in health and behaviour from growing old can be subtle, and they can easily go unrecognised. Although many elderly relatives will reject the notion that need care, it is important to objectively look at their situation and provide help, if needed, so that they can live healthily in a safe environment.

Health Concerns

It is easy to dismiss forgetfulness or confusion as just one of them things that accompany old age, but they can be signs of much more serious mental health problems. If your parents get lost or confused in familiar environments, show signs of weight loss because they are forgetting to eat (even if they have plenty of food in the house) or they are leaving potentially hazardous electrical or gas appliances on, they need to be provided with care assistance. These are serious indicators that they are struggling to live independently, and delaying the thought of seeking help could be costly to their health.

Mobility issues are also a cause for concern. Many ailments and health conditions come with old age and they can affect how elderly people travel and get around in their own home. Unfortunately, many people do not realise the seriousness of these problems until an accident occurs. While changes can be made around the home to ease mobility, if your elderly parents are having difficulty going up and down the stairs or even answering the door, they will certainly find it to be a struggle to go out shopping. In such circumstances, part-time or full-time assistance may be needed around the home and outdoors to ease the strain of domestic chores.

Changes in Behaviour

It is not uncommon for elderly parents to admonish the thought of help, especially from their sons or daughters, but changes in their behaviour can be a sign that they need care. While some behavioural changes, like irritation, anger and confusion, can be a sign of mental health problems, it can also be a cause of concern if your parents are reluctant to leave the house or they no longer want to socialise with others. As it becomes more and more difficult to travel and leave the house, many pensioners become withdrawn and anti-social. This type of behaviour can create mental and physical difficulties, and providing care in these circumstances can make sure that they stay active and mentally engaged with others.

Different Levels of Care

There are many different levels of care available to elderly people, and they can range from assistance provided by a part-time carer to full-time assisted living. Typically, elderly parents who are suffering from mental health problems, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, will need higher levels of care as their condition deteriorates, and the same may apply to those with serious mobility problems. Care requirements are assessed and provided by the NHS via local authorities, although private care options can also be considered. If you are concerned about your elderly parents because of health or behavioural indicators, you should seriously consider looking into the care options available to you. Just having someone pop into their home a few hours a week can make a big difference, and it could help prevent serious future problems.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: sxc.hu
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: sxc.hu

Written by Colin McDonald for Collins Care – http://www.collinscare.co.uk/

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