Tag Archives: parents’ social needs

4 Ways to Help to Elderly Parents without Draining Yourself and Your Budget

4 Ways to Help to Elderly Parents without Draining Yourself and Your Budget

by Guest Blogger, Caitlin E.

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Your parents took care of you when you were a kid. They paid for your education and food. They raised you to be a good person. And while they didn’t do that expecting you to return the favor, there might come a day when they’ll need you to step in.

Of course, if that day comes, it will mean that you have to make some changes in your lifestyle, regarding your career, personal life, and finances. No one expects you to give up on your life to care for your parents. But you will need to learn to balance your responsibilities in a way that enables you to continue making an income, caring for your family, and giving your parents all the attention they need.

Because you should not be in this alone, here are a few tips that will help you get through this situation.

See if They Need Help and How Much Help They Need

It’s always hard to admit that our parents, who we considered to be our superheroes, are ill and powerless. Facing the facts early on will help you give them the best care they need. The best thing you can do is to talk to your parents first because they need to be involved in every decision that concerns them.

Then, search for the signs they need help:

  • They’re struggling with household chores.
  • Their personal hygiene is not as it used to be.
  • They’re not eating regularly.
  • They struggle to move around the house and neighborhood.
  • They’re losing hand-eye coordination, which prevents them from driving safely, using tools, and other necessities.
  • They’re losing track of their medication.

Once you determine the condition of your parents, you will know the degree of care they require. For example, they might only need you to help with paying the bills or doing household chores. In more severe cases, they will require assistance with getting dressed and moving around.

Talk to Your Employer

Trying to juggle work and the new responsibilities might be the first to come to mind when you find yourself in a situation like this. However, in most cases, this feat results in dropping one juggling ball. Your productivity will definitely suffer, and your boss will notice it. It’s better for you to tell him/her before this happens.

Be honest. Try to point out your value to the company and explain that you will still do your best to contribute. You can ask to work from home for some time or take family days. Your company might even offer some benefits you can use.

Examine the Financial Situation and Make Plans

The financial aspect of being a caregiver is not to be neglected, as it can take quite a toll on both your and your parents’ budget.

First, you need to asses your current financial situation and see if there is room for savings. As a family caregiver, you might have a chance for a tax deduction, so check that out as well.

Later, you should do the same with your parents’ retirement income, but this is a touch topic. You’ll need to assure your parents that you have their best interest at heart. If they haven’t applied for social security yet, help them do it, and look for any tax and other reliefs that can help. For example, being a member of The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) provides various services, such as insurance coverage and discounts for certain medical equipment.

Consider downsizing their living arrangements as a way of cutting unnecessary expenses and adding to their savings. Of course, it is imperative to plan for the long term and create a budget that will cover the costs of future care.

Don’t Do Everything on Your Own

Taking on all the responsibilities alone can only cause you to burn out faster and damage your own health, which will result in a decreased ability to take care of your parents.

There’s no shame in asking a sibling or a relative for help when it comes to taking your parents to the doctor’s or cleaning the house. If your kids are teenagers or older, they can also help around the house or just be good company to their grandparents. Ask the neighbors to check up on your parents every once in a while and let you know about their condition. This way, the burden will feel lighter, and you’ll be able to balance your life more successfully.

Finally, don’t neglect your health and personal needs. You are of no use to your parents if you’re miserable or sick. Try to find the time to rest, sleep, and socialize, and when you come to their house with a smile on your face, they will feel much better too.

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The Psychological Impact of Aging on Couples

The Psychological Impact of Aging on Couples

Aging is an inevitability of life and one that few people look forward to. It is also a significant concern, particularly for couples. Growing old is unpredictable, with people deteriorating at different rates, and requiring other forms of care. For those who are becoming older and are no longer capable of being 100% independent, assisted living facilities (ALFs) are available. Here, they can maintain their independence to a degree, while having medical and caring support on site available at the same time.

 

pexels-photo-339620Image from Pexels

 

The Psychological Impact of Aging

 

Aging is a life transition, and all the big life changes come with significant psychological issues. When people age, they often start to experience a fear of the future. They worry about how long they have left, whether their memory will deteriorate, whether they can continue to have an active social life and play a role in the lives of their children and grandchildren. Additionally, as people age, they are more likely to experience grief as others around them start to pass away. It is also more common for them to experience ageism and discrimination, making them feel as if they are losing their independence.

 

These are all very significant issues that must be addressed properly. This is also because the psychological effects of aging have a direct impact on physical health as well. In fact, this is something specifically discussed by the American Psychological Association, who have released some statistics to demonstrate the link between psychological and physical well-being in the elderly. Specifically, they found that:

 

  • 50% to 70% of all visits to primary care physicians by the elderly are about stress, depression, or anxiety.
  • Older people who have significant or chronic health conditions are more likely to also suffer from depression. Furthermore, untreated mental health conditions often lead to poorer outcomes in physical health conditions, as people with conditions like depression tend to have a weaker immune system as well.
  • Depression is one of the leading causes of disability according to the World Health Organization.
  • Aging individuals who have their mental health needs addressed require less other forms of medical care as well.

 

The Psychological Impact of Moving into Assisted Living

 

pexels-photo-41073Image Credit

 

Assisted living has been shown to be very effective, offering a viable alternative to hospitalization or nursing homes. At the same time, the psychological impact of making this move is undeniable and must be understood. Some of the key stressors include:

 

  • Moving stress, caused by having to pack belongings and getting everything done on time.
  • A sense of loss and grief, caused by having to say goodbye to something for a final time, knowing that they will never return.
  • Fear of the unknown, having to move to an unfamiliar place.

 

Put together, these factors can cause “relocation stress”, which can lead to depression, difficulty sleeping, and other health problems. While all of this is properly understood, and a lot of help is out there for young people helping their mother and father into assisted living, as well as for seniors to help them transition, a key factor that is often not addressed is what needs to happen if the move relates to a couple.

 

It is undeniable that moving into an ALF has tremendous benefits for the person who needs it. In fact, various studies, including one posted in The Journals of Gerontology, have demonstrated that those in these facilities have an increased quality of life, better health, and more social cohesion and engagement. However, what happens when one person requires assisted living, but the other person does not?

 

What to Look for in a Facility that Caters to Couples

 

As you can see from the above, it is hard to age, and even harder to admit that more help is needed. This applies in particular to couples, where one person may have significant health needs, whereas the other does not. There are two added difficulties in this. Firstly, it means one person has to move when they are not ready for it yet and, secondly, that they often feel they have failed in properly looking after their partner. If this is happening to your parents, do try to reassure them that, in fact, making the decision to move to an ALF is the best that they can do to look after each other. Do also reassure them about the fact that there are plenty of facilities available that cater specifically to couples.

 

Finding Assisted Living Facilities

 

If you are at the point that your parents agree that they should move to an ALF, even if it is because only one of them needs more intensive care, there are five essential tips that you should follow to make this huge transition as comfortable as possible:

 

old-people-couple-together-connectedPhoto Credit

 

  1. Make sure you spend lots of time researching the options that are available to them.

 

If you have elderly parents, and you feel that it is time to find assisted living for them, then it is important that you do so in an inclusive, respectful manner that is mindful of the psychological issues discussed above. Spend time together to look in your area for what is available, giving your parents a choice. It is important that they understand that you are not aiming to take away their independence, nor that you feel they have become a burden on you. Rather, finding assisted living is an opportunity for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life. Where they want to do this is a decision that they should be 100% involved in.

 

  1. Work on your finances.

 

Moving home is stressful, whether it is the first time you leave home as a young person, or whether you are elderly. The last thing you need at that point is to have increased levels of stress because of finances. It is unlikely that Medicare will cover the full cost of an ALF, although they may provide coverage for some of the care that your parents receive there. If you parents have other health insurance, you will need to look into the coverage they offer as well.

 

  1. Talk about the available space.

 

When in assisted living, your parents will have a space of their own. What that space looks like varies, although it is common to have a private bathroom, bedroom, and living area. Although they will have all this space, it is unlikely that it will be as big as their current home. This means that some difficult decisions will have to be made regarding which pieces of furniture can come, and which have to be said goodbye to.

 

  1. Consider your parents’ social needs.

 

One key factor of importance when helping to find an ALF is that your parents will have high social engagement. In fact, the Journal of Applied Gerontology has written a report on how proper social engagement increases overall mental well-being in the elderly, which in turn improves physical well-being as well. The study focused specifically on activity theory, looking at its impact on depressive symptoms and on life satisfaction. What the study showed was that friendliness of fellow residents and of the staff in the facility was crucial to improving life satisfaction. It also showed that simple things, such as having enjoyable mealtimes, helped to lower the depressive symptoms. What this suggests is that assisted living facilities in which residents are encouraged to interact with one another are likely to be the better ones. This is certainly something that you can discuss with your parents while helping them look for a facility.

 

  1. Prepare yourself for future health needs.

 

Unfortunately, as people age, their health deteriorates, and you must prepare yourself for this. If only one parent required assisted living care, then you have to ready yourself for them needing more intensive care later on in life. The parent that perhaps did not yet need this type of care will get to a point where their health starts to be affected as well. It is best to discuss this to a degree with your parents, concerning building an understanding what their wishes are. But other than that, this is something you will have to prepare yourself for in person.

 

Aging is one of the greatest tragedies of life. It is a tough time, one in which people start to understand that they are nearing the end. They often feel like they have become a burden on others and this has a significant impact on their overall mental health and well-being. You, as their child, can help mitigate that to some degree by encouraging your parents to agree to move into an ALF, even if only one of the two actually needs it. Show your parents that there is no shame in asking for help but rather that it is a sign of strength. It means that they want to continue to enjoy their life, but in a way in which they receive support, safe, and comfortable. Last but not least, remember to visit them often, you are part of their social lifeline!

Tia, and TipsfromTia.com  is trying to keep you looking good and
feeling good, from the inside out. If you’ve got a problem or a tip email me! Be sure to Like and share on Facebook or Follow on Twitter or Instagram