It’s sometimes easy to identify when an aging parent needs support. For example, if a senior has suffered an acute illness like a stroke or heart attack, their needs may change quickly and drastically. In many cases, though, aging is much more subtle, and the need for extra support might emerge very gradually. Oftentimes, family caregivers become aware that their loved one ‘needs help’, but may find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what can be done.
Support for an aging senior can look very different from person to person, depending on their unique needs and preferences. For some seniors, something as simple as having a relative pick up groceries and help them with paperwork might be enough. But for others, professional support from home health services or assisted living might be needed.
If you’re finding it difficult to identify what support your aging loved one requires, following the steps below should help you gain a clearer picture.
Assessing Their Needs
The first thing you should do to figure out what support to offer your loved one is to carry out a thorough assessment of their needs. It may be useful to sit down with your parent to gain their valuable input; after all, they’re the one affected by these decisions.
Within your assessment, think about your relative’s:
- Home safety
- Health conditions and medical needs
- Social support networks
- Ability to carry out personal care tasks
Each of these things can greatly impact quality of life for seniors, and by thinking deeply about them, it may become easier to identify the specific kind of support your loved one could benefit from.
Identifying How These Needs can be met
Once you have a clear picture of what your parent or loved one struggles with, the next step is to figure out how you can help. As a family caregiver, ‘helping’ can mean a lot of things. It could be giving assistance with simple activities of daily living, or it could be arranging professional care in an assisted living facility in Texas. Here are just a few examples of what you might do to help your loved one.
If you find…their home is posing a risk to their safety
You could help by…taking steps to improve the accessibility and safety of their home
There are a whole host of fairly simple things that can be done to improve home safety for seniors. For example, you might ensure floors and walkways are clear of clutter and tripping hazards, while also adding grab bars and stair railings throughout the home. Move everything they use to a level they can reach without stretching or having to use a stool.
If you find…they’re feeling isolated and lonely
You could help by…visiting more frequently
It might be useful to create a family schedule so your loved one can regularly socialize with the people they love. If frequent visits aren’t possible (for instance if they live a long distance from the rest of the family) teach them how to use instant messaging and video calling technology.
If you find…their finances are suffering and bills are being left unpaid
You could help by…taking care of their finances for them
Be mindful, though, that for some seniors this can feel overbearing, and it might be better to take a gentler route. For example, if they’re still cognitively able to take care of their own bills and finances, but are simply feeling a little overwhelmed, it might be better to help them get organized. Sort through loose paperwork together, discarding what isn’t needed and organizing the rest into a simple filing system. Take a look at their monthly bills, cancelling any subscriptions or services they no longer use.
If you find…mobility issues are stopping them from running daily errands
You could help by…offering to run errands for them
As a senior ages, tasks that were once simple can become overwhelming, and struggling with daily errands can impact every facet of life. For example, if your loved one is unable to get out to buy groceries, they might resort to eating spoiled food or regularly getting takeout. If they’re not able to attend medical appointments due to mobility issues, their health will deteriorate and treatable conditions may go undetected. Ask your aging parent what you can do to help; something as easy as picking up groceries once a week or escorting them to appointments might make the world of difference.
If you find…everything is becoming too much for them
You could help by…seeking out professional support
In many instances, family caregivers are simply not able to provide the right care for their loved one. This might be because the aging senior’s needs are too complex, or it could be that the caregiver is also elderly and has health conditions, or lives a long distance away. If this is the case, the best way to help your loved one could well be to sit down and discuss professional care options, like home health services, memory care, residential care homes or assisted living communities in TX.
Making Sure Your Loved One is Involved
Many aging seniors struggle with the concept of accepting support. If a child or relative does too much, it might feel like they’re trying to ‘take over’. Your parent or loved one is likely accustomed to being the provider, and switching roles can be difficult.
You can make this transition easier by ensuring your loved one is as involved in their care decisions as possible. Rather than taking control of everything all at once, ask them what they would like you to do to help, and take on board their suggestions and preferences.
If you’re interested in exploring assisted living with your loved one, get in touch to arrange a personalized tour today. We’re happy to help support you and your loved one find the right level of care.