Elder care is unlike any other type of care a person can provide. Whether you’ve been a parent, a caregiver for someone else, or even an attentive pet parent, very little can prepare you for taking care of a senior. Caring for an ageing adult requires a certain skillset, and caring for a parent can sometimes impose an additional mental or emotional.
While you may want to take charge of your parent’s health by moving them home with you, it’s important to understand that you may not be able to provide the level of care they need. In thinking holistically about senior health, you’ll come to understand that caring for an ageing parent requires more than feeding them three healthy meals and dispensing medication every day.
A Three-Pronged Elder Care Approach
If your parent is seeking ways to improve their life as an older person, you’ll want to think about all aspects of senior life – not just physical health. Here are a few facets of senior living to consider when suggesting and administering changes.
- Emotional Health: Feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation typically increase with age. According to a Centers for Disease Control study, more than 1 in 5 adults over 55 years old experience some type of mental health concern. Getting your parent the care they need – be it therapy, an emotionally healthy living environment, or medication – can make all the difference.
- Social Health: Senior loneliness is a growing issue in America. It can be difficult to make friends as an older adult, and if your parent lives alone, they likely spend most waking hours by themselves. Living in a senior community or with peers can improve social health and facilitate a full, enjoyable senior life.
- Physical Wellness: Physical health is a paramount concern for most older people, but folks tend to overlook physical wellness. Of course, you want your parent to receive the healthcare they need, but what about eating foods that make them feel good, or being able to maintain a healthy sleep schedule? These parts of wellness are often inaccessible when living alone or with family, and conflicting schedules can make such tasks difficult to achieve.
As with caring for any type of dependent, be it a child or a pet, caring for an ageing parent can be extraordinarily difficult. Beyond physical needs, like medicine administration and healthcare, your parent is not likely able to see you as an authority or care figure. Managing mental, psychological, and physical needs of a parent requires individuals to overcome whatever care hierarchy was established in childhood. For some, this may be insurmountable.
Relinquishing Control to a Senior Care Facility
Nobody will love your parent like you do. We understand that. But, at some point, you’ll need to realize that you won’t always be able to provide the care your parent needs. Only trained professionals, like home health aides and staff members at senior care facilities, can provide them with the care they need. Plus, these days, senior care facilities are better equipped to manage all aspects of health than they were in decades past. The senior homes of today are not what our grandparents experienced; they often involve maintaining mental and emotional wellbeing, social health, and the medical needs of all residents, regardless of age, need, or ability.