Top 10 Elderly Parent Problems
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
May 23, 2012
Filed Under Family
Contributed by Info Guru Rosemary O’Brien
Imagine that everything in your life has changed.
It has most likely happened gradually, but it has nevertheless changed. You no longer work at the job you have had for 30 years, your body may be betraying you with ailments that only old people experience. Then you realize you can no longer remain in the home you love.
These are the elderly parent problems that many baby boomers and their elderly parents are dealing with. Here are some ideas about where to find information and tips on how to deal with this new phase of life.
10. Staying active
Throughout life, the world reminds us to get enough exercise. This is even more crucial among the elderly population who often have to deal with the aches and pains that go along with aging. Exercise bicycles, cycles, and cardio bikes are a good way to remain active without having to leave your house. Balance cycling on a stationary bike with a walk around the walk with a grandchild or your spouse. It will keep your heart pumping and your mind working to optimum capacity as blood and the oxygen it takes with it circulates though the body, including to the brain.
9. Good nutrition is important
Good food and proper nutrition are essential as your body slows down. A great way of helping your elderly parents is by doing grocery shopping, cooking and freezing single servings of well-balanced meals and treating to dinner out once in a while. A fruit basket is a great gift for someone just returning from a hospital stay, especially after surgery, and a wonderful surprise any time for home-bound parents. The nutrients in fruits and vegetables help maintain health for all ages.
8. Staying healthy
As they get older, person may suddenly have to deal with many illnesses and conditions. Even simple things such as constipation or incontinence can put a damper on someone’s day. Keep health issues at bay by scheduling regular doctor’s visits to catch any illness or symptom ahead of time before it becomes a bigger problem. Your doctor can help you figure out how to maintain optimum health or deal with a chronic health issue so you can experience the best quality of life possible despite your body’s ailments.
7. Money, money, money
This is one of the top elderly parent problems, yet rarely addressed in families. While it is true many people manage to put away money for their older years, it should not be taken for granted. Adult children, especially if they are now caretakers or executors of their parents’ will, should have a frank discussion with their elderly parents about what assets they have and what arrangements have been made for their eventual death or any long-term illness. It is best to have this discussion while parents are sharp and in good health rather than waiting for an unfortunate time such as when a parent is suffering from dementia or, even worse, after they have passed on.
6. Living arrangements
Baby boomers are often in the prime of their lives, the exact time when their parents need them. Timing between your schedule and your parents’ needs may not be the best. An adult child is usually dealing with children of their own, their career, and often owns a house which needs tending. This may lead to the worst time to take a parent into your home, especially if they are grieving the loss of their spouse.
How do you talk to a parent about moving? Caring.com suggests making time for a focused discussion. Keep in mind it may take more than one discussion, so try more than once. Be respectful knowing your elderly parent problems are not the fault of the elderly parent, but of the natural course of life. We all age, so make sure you do not mess with karma! You do not want to have your own children disrespect you after a lifetime of living and loving your family. If an assisted living arrangement can help make your parent’s life happier, making it happen might be the best thing for everyone involved, so go for it.
Are your parents still driving? You need to know how to determine if your parents should still be behind the wheel of a car. WebMD suggests riding along with your parent to see how he behaves. Is he riding the brake and the accelerator, for example, or does he have difficulty parking or backing up? If you suspect your parent should not be driving, begin with a doctor’s visit. Your parent’s primary physician can help you take steps to take away the keys or at least to have your parent evaluated. Remaining on the road if he should not is not healthy for the parent or the people in the path of his car.
The elderly often have problems with depression. Think about it. Wouldn’t you be a bit sad if you were slowing, but surely, losing all of your friends and people you have known your entire life? If your parent, however, has a difficult time getting out of this understandable funk, she may be suffering from clinical depression.
Again, a visit to your parent’s doctor is the first step. The doctor can recommend further evaluation if warranted, or give you and your parent ideas about how to find ways to cope with the losses and other elderly parent problems that might be leaving your parent unhappy more often than not.
3. Getting around
Mobility is sometimes an issue for the elderly. Illnesses such as arthritis may make it difficult to move around or even get out of a chair without some degree of difficulty. Lift chairs are a common solution to this common problem.
Lift chairs propel the user out of the chair gently by raising the seat to a more comfortable position upon activation. The user simply waits for the chair to reach the position in which he or she can stand with ease rather than having to grab on to something and painfully hurl himself up.
Eldercare is essentially daycare for the elderly. It does not mean the person is being treated like a baby. The exact opposite is often true. While some facilities cater to the physically or mentally challenged, many are simply cool places for Mom or Dad to hang out with people their own age. There are often special parties to mark special days such as Christmas or Hannukah, and they often provide a safe place for the elderly to meet one another, form friendships and even learn new skills. The added benefit is safety. If your elderly parent is around others during the day, they will be less likely to injure themselves or to wait for someone to find them should an injury or accident occur.
1. Granny has a boyfriend!
The offshoot of eldercare is often new friendships, but may also lead to more. People often forget that the elderly were once young like us. They form loving relationships like everyone else. These relationships may even involve sex. STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) were not discussed when your elderly parent was young and as a result STD risk often ignored. If you suspect your parent is involved in a sexual relationship, suggest he or she discuss it with their doctor in a frank manner. Do not try to deal with this one yourself. Think about. The sex talk with a teen is difficult enough. Why complicate your life? Gently broach the subject with your parent leading with the fact that STDs are still out there even if the concern about unwanted pregnancies no longer exists.
Elderly parent problems can be difficult sometimes, but nothing is insurmountable. If you take each issue as it comes, and deal with it logically and with understanding, you and your elderly parent can make it through any elderly parent problems with which you may be presented. Just hang in there and enjoy your time with your parent. They took care of you when you were young. You’re just paying back the favor.