Friday, 12 June 2015

Caring for your parent as they get older

In the role reversal of later life when your parents reach their advancing years and become less able to look after themselves, it may fall to you to provide care. This can be a difficult time – especially if they are suffering from a debilitating illness such as dementia – but also rewarding as you bond with your parent and strengthen your relationship. As your parents get older there are certain things you need to look out for in terms of their condition and lifestyle. Here are a few tips on how to keep them fit and healthy in later life.

Keep active
One of the best ways to keep healthy, as well as eating well (making sure plenty of fruit and veg are being consumed), is regular exercise. It doesn’t have to be strenuous sessions at the gym, elderly-friendly classes such as armchair yoga are great for keeping the body healthy.

Be sociable
Keeping in contact with friends and family is a good way to keep the mood positive which is also a real health boost. Just a weekly gossip over a cup of tea can work wonders but often older people can feel isolated and do not want to leave the house for one reason or another – often due to a lack of mobility or sometimes the onset of depression. Therefore it is worth encouraging this as much as possible and maybe introducing them to a service such as Age UK’s befriender scheme

Keep in contact with the doctor
A regular check up at the doctors is always a good idea for anyone in their advancing years. Doctors will not consider regular visits from over-65s a waste of their time as there is an increased risk of various illnesses and conditions.

Watch out for common symptoms of illness
Things like dementia, depression and arthritis which hinders mobility can all strike in old age. Read the NHS website in order to be vigilant and take the advice offered above.  

Make a caregiving budget
If you have to make the choice of cutting down your hours, changing job or even giving up work, make sure you have planned for the future and that your family’s income can handle the strain. This budget will be a combination of your parents’ finances, your own and the spending requirements.

Getting professional help
There might be a time when your parent needs home help for their care needs. There are also care home options such as the ones provided by Extra Care. Extra Care are great in that they encourage proactivity in managing residents health, this means organising a wealth of activities and trips which keep the body and mind active.

Another important thing to consider is that you are not on your own whether you need financial help or otherwise social services should be able to help. Take a look at this section of the government’s website to see your entitlements.

*PR collaboration
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