Aging is a fact of life and it affects all families. As adult children, when imagining our parents as seniors, we may not fully comprehend the extent to which their aging will affect them or how it will affect us. Indeed, if they are already seniors and still in good health and living independently we may not feel any dramatic changes or concerns. However, the time does come when effects of aging become more evident and long-term care may be needed.
An overall decline in physical and mental vitality may result in visible and even drastic changes to our parent’s appearance, the standard of life, and emotional well-being. The more aware we are of how aging can affect them, and what options are available to them as seniors and us as caring adult children, the better for all involved. Let’s take a moment to consider some essential things we should take into account regarding their welfare during aging and how in-home care can make all the difference.
Things to Consider
The well-being of our parents is our ultimate wish as they age and live out the last years of their lives. Elder care means considering a family member’s emotional, mental and physical well-being.
Activities of Daily Living (known as ADLs)
Essentials necessary to the dignity and physical and emotional well-being of our elderly parents is to ensure their daily living requirements are met effectively. The basic ADL activities are typically listed as:
- Functional Mobility
(moving while performing activities, getting in and out of bed, in and out of a chair)
- Bathing or Showering
- Personal Hygiene
(includes brushing/styling hair, shaving, grooming activities)
- Toilet Hygiene
(includes getting to the toilet, self-cleaning, getting up from the toilet)
If they have impaired mobility and health issues that make it difficult or impossible for them to take care of these ADLs independently then you need to find them the appropriate help. Whether it’s providing care (you or someone else who is qualified) or investing in the proper equipment and accessories to help them continue doing daily tasks independently, be aware that there are many choices and options available.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)
Other types of daily living activities, not necessarily fundamental, but related to independent functioning are called instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). IADLs most often refer to the following types of activities with long-term care:
- Cooking and Preparing Meals
- Cleaning and Maintaining the Home
- Shopping and Buying Necessities
- Running Errands
- Managing Money and Paying Bills
- Speaking or Communicating on the Phone or Through Other Devices
- Taking Prescribed Medications
Again, it’s important to the overall well-being of elderly parents that their IADLs are taken care of effectively and consistently. If there are obstacles or difficulties with doing these tasks alone, there is help. Whether it’s you, other siblings, relatives or friends that help out, or even professional caregivers, arranging help is possible. Other sources of help include technological devices that can provide assistance or even various community services geared at helping seniors. Taking an honest look at where an elderly parent needs support is the first step and then assess at all the possible solutions in order get them the help they need.