The process of aging is a tough reality for everyone to come to terms with. But the sooner you and your loved one’s grapple with it, the sooner everyone can begin to take steps to alleviate the burdens that come with it.
If your parents are living on their own, they might bristle at the subject of entering an assisted living facility—and for good reason! Not all seniors need to be grouped together in a home. Sometimes, their problems are smaller and can be managed within the confines of their home. Here are a few solutions for common problems associated with your aging or elderly parents.
Loss of Vision
If your parent or loved one is suffering vision loss, they should know first and foremost that they are not alone. Vision loss is incredibly common as we grow older, and there is nothing to be afraid of. There are plenty of support groups which help newly disabled people through the process of grief, and you should encourage your parent to join one.
Beyond that, you can help them feel comfortable by providing them means of continuing their normal, everyday routine. There are quite a few gadgets intended to alleviate the eye strain or to enhance the user’s vision, such as a portable telescope or digital magnifier.
Loss of Hearing
The process of losing your hearing is a different sensation but a similar process of grief as loss of vision. Again, you should encourage your loved one to seek out others going through the same painful process so that they can share and support one another. Beyond that, you should always be patient and compassionate when dealing with your parent’s deteriorating hearing. They may be embarrassed at having to ask their friends and family to constantly repeat themselves, so you should go out of your way to speak clearly.
Another gadget which can help alleviate this burden are TvEars. This is an especially good idea if your parents enjoy watching television, or if one parent is losing hearing at a faster rate than the other. With TvEars, all parties can watch television at a reasonable volume. The person with hearing loss wears the “ears” and adjusts the volume to their preference, essentially using headphones at a different volume to the rest of the group, who hear the television at the preset volume of the television.
Arduous Home Tasks
While your parent may be up to the daily enjoyment of their life, they may not be up for such arduous tasks such as meal prepping, cleaning, or cooking. “Home care services allow seniors to maintain their independence without feeling as though they are burdening their friends and family,” says Medicare Home Health Care Agency Nursing Plus of Broward.
Of course, you and your loved ones would likely do all you can for your aging parents, but as a child of a senior you’re likely to know that they would rather suffer in silence than ask for their children to go out of the way for them. When approaching your senior parent or parents about hiring a home care service, be direct but empathetic. You haven’t yet been in their shoes, so if they appear indignant or insulted, try to take it in stride. Make sure to include them intimately in the process of choosing a service they like with a frequency of visitation that they are comfortable with.
If loneliness, and not personal care, is your aging parent’s top concern, you should consider helping them choose a companion. A dog is a perfect choice for most capable seniors looking for structure and friendship over the course of their days. If you are considering a puppy, take careful stock of your parent’s activity level and their physical fitness. Puppies are cute, but they are also incredibly demanding. They will require constant attention and consistent training on a level a lot of seniors might not be comfortable with giving on a regular basis.
Another great option is getting your elderly loved one a cat. Cats are lower maintenance, and even kittens are a less time intensive option than their canine counterparts. That said, the frequency and degree of affection on the part of cats is usually less consistent than it is with dogs, so seniors looking for an incredibly attentive companion might want to steer clear of cats.
Of course, the number one solution to the problem of loneliness should be your attention: even a weekly check-in can lift the mood of your parent. They likely won’t call if they don’t want to bother you, but it’s worth putting in the little bit of effort now, knowing it will pay off in spades for your loved one over time.