What You Need to Know About Living With Aging Parents

Aging parents represent a combination of challenges that are uniquely difficult for their children. Knowing how to balance their autonomy with their safety is hard enough; combined with the time and monetary commitment caregiving represents, the equation becomes even more complicated.

Today we’ve compiled some things that need to be considered if you plan on living with elderly parents. It’s a decision that can’t be made lightly and requires serious planning, even if it ends up being the right choice in the end.

Thanking my parents for everything . Smiling careful handsome man having dinner and enjoying time with his senior parents while expressing love to them

Consider an Assessment

Before committing to anything, you may want to have your parents assessed. This is a comprehensive review of their mental, physical, environmental, and financial condition. In essence, it is a test on how well they’re doing on their own.

In some cases, even elderly parents may be quite suited to living on their own. Be it through diet, exercise, genetics, or just plain luck, some older folks can remain fully-autonomous for longer than others.

If the results of the assessment say otherwise, then it may be time to consider your options. At the very least, it’s time to bring up your concerns about their health and safety.

This is where having your assessment done through outside, professional help can come in handy. The word of a figure of authority may come off as more reliable and unbiased than that of one’s concerned children. In any case, getting your parents to agree they need help with living their day-to-day will make the moving process much easier than if every step has to be an argument or even legal battle.

Your Aging Parents Aren’t Just Guests

One mistake many families make is thinking of caregiving in the same way one might think of entertaining temporary visitors. This often won’t work and for a number of reasons at that.

For one, once parents require outside help, that often won’t change for the remainder of their lives. This means they may be living in your home for years, even decades if they’re lucky.

This means a simple guest setup won’t be suitable. You’re going to need to find a mover and figure out what is to be done with all their stuff, from furniture to silverware to even the home itself (assuming they’re not renting).

If they’re still in the right state of mind, discuss what needs to be kept and what can be sold or given away. If they have a home or other big-ticket item that can be sold, consider using the money to improve their experience living with you.

One option many families choose is to use the profits from such sales to hire extra help, or even to expand the room their parents will be staying at to be more comfortable.

Your Home Must Fit Their Needs

Most aging parents suffering from one or more medical problems of varying levels of severity; it is the nature of aging.

For a quick example, over half of people over 65 suffer from arthritis. On top of that, as we age, our bones tend to grow more brittle and our hand-eye coordination declines. For many elderly people, mobility becomes a real concern.

If you’re going to serve as a caregiver to your parents, their health issues need to be accounted for. Dangers like slipping in the shower or down stairs need to be considered. If their mental state is declining, you may need child safety locks and ways to help stop them from wandering off unattended, including when you’re sleeping.

Bathing and using the bathroom will become more difficult too; in many cases, parents may need help doing these things. If you’re to be their primary caregiver, you have to be prepared to address these needs.

Get Legal Matters Squared Away

Caregiving for one’s parents can be legally tricky. Ideally, your parent or parents will be cooperative but this won’t always be the case. Some parents, either through stubbornness or mental illness, will try to refuse your help or may not even be capable of consenting to anything to begin with.

Whether a parent cooperates or not, talk to a lawyer about your options. At the very least, you will want some basics to be established, such as their will, whether you are allowed to use their assets (specifically their money), and whether you can access information like their medical and banking records.

Ideally, you will be granted power of attorney over your aging parent, but this won’t always be appropriate if they are still of sound mind.

These issues matter even if you have the full cooperation of your parents. If there is a medical or financial emergency, you may need access to their assets and/or the ability to consent on their behalf.

This is doubly true if their mental state is declining, as this means they may be able to understand and consent to changes now but won’t be able to later.

Take Caregiving Seriously

It is quite reasonable to decide your aging parents could use your help long term and either have them move in with you or your family move in with them. Most people care very much about their parents and it’s easy to worry as age starts to affect them. At the same time, remember to consider the above.

Becoming the primary caregiver for one’s parents is not a decision to be made lightly. It takes work and dedication; make sure you’re prepared.

That said, living with your elderly parents can also be fulfilling. It can be nice knowing you’re giving back after all the work and love they dedicated to you. So long as you’re ready for the challenge, it can be a major help in keeping them safe and in good spirits in their later years.

Check out our other posts for more helpful guides and tips.

How to Help Your Elderly Parents Save Money

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When your parents reach their senior years, your primary concern is likely to be their health. However, there is another factor that you should not overlook, and that is their financial health. Unfortunately, many seniors have concerns over money, and this prevents them from being able to fully enjoy their retirement. If your elderly parent is concerned about their finances and wants to reduce their outgoings, there are many ways that you can help them with this. Check out these money-saving solutions for seniors:

 

Shop Around for Discounts

 

An excellent way to cut for seniors to cut their spending without missing out on buying their favorite products is to get familiar with senior discount days. Shopping in stores that offer senior discounts, such as Walgreen’s “Senior Discount Day” is an excellent way to pay less for both regular household items and treats. 

 

Making a note of which stores offer senior discounts and which days they offer them will help to make it much easier for your elderly parent to know where and when to shop.

 

Cut the Cost of Repairs and Professional Services

 

One thing that many people worry about is the cost of an unexpected repair bill coming in, and for the elderly, this can be even more of a worry. Creating a list of recommended, trustworthy tradespeople that also offer a discount for seniors is helpful and will mean that if issues do occur, your parent will know who to call without worrying about being charged a fortune.

 

As well as getting discounts on services and repairs from plumbers and electricians, look for hair stylists that also give a senior discount, this is especially useful if your elderly parent likes to have their hair done frequently.

 

Make Savings on Travel

 

If your elderly parent has stopped driving in their later years, then ensuring that they get the best deals on the cost of bus and train tickets is crucial. It is worth investigating to see if they are eligible for further discounts on travel and transport, as this will help to keep their regular outgoings as low as possible without them losing their freedom and being stuck in the house every day.

 

Reduce Bills

 

As well as saving on your elderly parents’ shopping bills, the most significant savings that you can help them to make is by cutting the cost of their utility bills. Helping your parent go through their utility bills to ensure that they are receiving all the senior discounts and support that they are entitled to is an excellent starting point. Once you have established this, you can help them to make further savings by comparing utility providers. If you find a cheaper supplier that your parent can easily switch to, this is something that could help them to make massive savings over a year. 

 

Helping your parents to save money in their senior years is something that may only take up a few hours of your time but could help significantly reduce their outgoings.

Things to Think About As You Get Older

We’re all getting older. There’s no stopping your body from aging, even if there are various cosmetic treatments that help us to pretend that we’re not getting older. It can be difficult to grapple with the reality of getting older, but it’s something that’s essential for all of us to deal with. As you age and start to approach your later years, there are some important things to think about if you want to make the most of it.

 

What Your Priorities Are

 

Everyone has different priorities as they get older. Some people don’t want to stop working, as they fear it would mean they have nothing fulfilling to do with their life. Other people want to retire as soon as possible so they can spend more time with their family, travel, or enjoy life in other ways.

 

Staying Healthy As You Age

 

As life takes its toll on your body and every part of you gets older, it’s crucial to take care of it. Both your body and your mind are affected by age, so it’s worth thinking about how you want to take care of them, or even if you’re concerned with looking after yourself at all.

 

Preparing for the End of Your Life

 

You might not like to think about becoming ill later in life or about your death, but being prepared for these things can be helpful not just for you but your family too. By thinking about how you want to be cared for if you can’t care for yourself, you can have control over your future.


Infographic Design By Bradley University

The Little Signs That Your Elderly Parent Needs Help

Having aging parents is both a blessing and a curse. Naturally, you want to have your parents around for as long as possible. But it can be difficult to watch them age, and unavoidably degrade and lose some of their abilities. Besides the emotional involvement of suddenly having to care for your parents – whether you need to be a full-time care or to manage their living arrangements – , there is a much more urging matter. Indeed, elderly people may fail to notice that their health is degrading. As people age, they rapidly lose focus of their health to concentrate on everyday routines, such as their favorite TV show, the morning tea or even a sweet sugary treat before going to bed. But without any reference to health, they can become weak in front of your eyes without even noticing. It’s exactly why you need to pay attention to all the little signs that your elderly parent might show.

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#1. The TV Is Too Loud

When was the last time you’ve had a phone call with your elderly parent? If you’ve found yourself having to repeat constantly the same thing because they couldn’t hear you, it might be a sign of hearing issues. Although, before you rush to read all the latest hearing aid faq, you may want to check if this could be simply due to an old device. Seniors are, after all, not renowned for changing their tech devices as regularly as younger generations. You may want to investigate a little more, especially by checking how loud the TV generally is at your parents’ place. Old people tend not to notice that their hearing is getting worse, especially as all it takes is to turn the volume up. Additionally, there are other signs that can help you to notice the issue before it gets too late. For instance, you may find conversations difficult with your elderly parent. They may not ask you to repeat, but their answers might indicate that they didn’t hear you properly.   

 

#2. They Are Losing Weight

Appetite loss is a common issue with aging people. After all, they do need fewer calories, and consequently, it’s natural that their appetite is not the same than yours. However, there is a thin line between natural reduction of appetite and unhealthy behavior. There are many factors that can lead to eating less in seniors. They could be experiencing denture troubles, and consequently, might find it more difficult to eat. They might feel lonely and be lacking appetite as a result of their mental mood. They may even become forgetful and not notice that they haven’t eaten all day. Whatever the reasoning, you need to be very attentive to the first signs of weight loss. It is a difficult topic to discuss, but it can be helpful to first discuss the issue with a doctor, who can help you to identify the cause of their weight loss.

 

#3. They Become Very Clumsy

Everyone can have moments when they tripped on the carpet and fall. Even you. Or sometimes you accidentally drop a glass, and it breaks. So don’t get too nervous if it happens to your elderly parent too. However, if they fall a little too often, or things break too regularly, it might be a sign of something more serious than just clumsiness. The inner ear is responsible for your balance. The labyrinth of the ear contains many nerves and hairs that work together to coordinate your movement in space and against the pull of gravity. However, researchers have shown that the body starts losing nerves in the ear. This might result in a loss of balance. Eye problems such as cataract or glaucoma, which are common in old age, can also cause issues in moving in a room or seizing objects.  

 

#4. They Don’t Remember Where They’ve Put The Keys

Okay, the big worry about old age is Alzheimer’s disease or another case of dementia. There’s no denying that these diseases exist and are strongly related to memory loss. However, forgetfulness is not always a case of Alzheimer’s. Lack of attention or mild age-related memory loss is natural, and it isn’t anything that you should worry about. Serious memory loss, such as not being able to stick to the same routine activities or to form reasonable arguments, can be an indication of a deep loss of mental ability. Do pay close attention to your parent’s behavior, if you begin to suspect that they may be suffering from memory loss. Dementia doesn’t need to show its worst side for you to notice it. It can be little signs, such as mentioning a talk with someone who is already dead, or a sudden change of routine. If it is identified early enough, memory loss related diseases can be managed easily and successfully for a very long time.

Managing Your Health As You Enter Your Golden Years

There’s a lot to look forward to when we’re in our twilight years. Having retired from work, we get to finally enjoy the fruits of our labor, spend more time with your children and grandparents, and have time to dedicate to the other interests in our lives. However, we also need to pick an eye on our health. We’re no longer spring chickens, and our health needs better management now that we’re at an age when health conditions can become more serious.

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Listening to Our Body

Our body will show signs of natural wear and tear as we age. This happens to everybody, and while you can prolong it by doing things like yoga and other non-impact exercises, there’ll come a time when you’re no longer able to do all the things you used to do. To avoid injuries and serious medical complications, it’s important that you pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you’re still playing a weekly game of squash, for example, and your body isn’t coping well, then it’s time to put the racket away and find a new activity.

Regular Check Ups

Even if you feel in great condition, there can be a lot happening below the surface, things you couldn’t possibly be aware of unless you were told by a medical expert. Once you reach beyond the age of 65, it’s really important that you’re getting regular check-ups from a professional. As well as detecting any problems that need to be taken care of, your doctor will also be able to advise any lifestyle changes that will improve the length and quality of your life.

Retiring in Comfort

It can be hard to keep up with all the maintenance that is required in a family home, and if you’re still living there, you might find that the house is falling into disrepair just because you’re unable to address the issues. If you’re looking for a more stress-free and social life, you might want to consider moving into an area designed for senior citizens, like the senior living community Riddle Village. This will enable you to enjoy all the comforts of retirement while also maintaining your independence and meeting similar people, too.

Staying Active

Wherever you live, it’s crucial that you stay physically active for as long as people. By this, we don’t mean doing anything too intensive, but there are plenty of activities that are suitable for older people. Do these regularly, and you’ll receive plenty of benefits, including improved energy, a healthy heart, great flexibility and mobility, and more. Exercise also boosts our mood, which can help keep depression and other issues at bay.

Mentally Sharp

As well as staying physically sharp, you also need to do things to keep your mental sharpness intact, too. Things like reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles and the like each day can help keep your brain “young”, according to the experts. Even as you enter your golden years, you’ll be as sharp as a tack!