As your parents reach their senior years, it becomes more important than ever to help support them and ensure their health is protected. Looking after the health and wellbeing of your parents is one of the most caring things you can do and will help them to feel at their best and able to enjoy life.
But, knowing how best to help your elderly parents is not always easy. You may find it hard to judge how much support your parents need, and you may be concerned about being too overbearing and bossy. However, having your parents’ best interests at heart and doing everything your can to support them shows how much you care, and they are sure to appreciate your good intentions.
There are many ways you can help your elderly parents stay healthy. Many people focus on the physical health of seniors, but their mental wellbeing is equally important. If you are keen to help your parents live their best life in their senior years and to protect their health and wellbeing but are unsure where to begin, you should find that these tips help you to get started:
Never Ignore Medical Problems
Do you ever find that your mum or dad tries to cover medical problems and dismiss their symptoms? While it is admirable to try and put on a brave face, getting the correct medical advice is essential to protect your parent’s long-term health.
So, if you notice that they seem to be experiencing discomfort or are displaying other symptoms, arranging an appointment with the GP is advisable. Most medical conditions are easier to treat when caught earlier and respond far better to medication and other treatments.
Arrange Health Checks
As well as seeing the doctor when medical issues strike, it is also essential for your elderly parents to attend regular checkups such as eye tests and hearing tests. Taking care of their vision and hearing can have an incredibly positive impact on your parent’s quality of life. Often, people are unaware that they need hearing health care, as hearing loss is an invisible health condition that worsens over time.
Protecting these vital senses and benefitting from the help of hearing aids or glasses ensures your parents will remain fully engaged with conversations and helps them to continue interacting and joining in.
Encourage Them to Get Vaccinated
In the past couple of years, the importance of vaccines has been highlighted, and vaccination programs have received lots of attention. But aside from the COVID vaccination, there are many other vaccines available that will help to keep your loved one healthy.
The seasonal flu and the shingles vaccine are just two of the vaccines available to older adults, so taking advantage of this to ensure that your parents have the best possible protection from disease is a great way to protect their health, especially through the wintertime.
Create a Safe Living Environment
Unfortunately, older adults are far more likely to experience falls, and due to their age, the injuries they sustain can be more serious. Injuries such as hip fractures are common in older adults that sustain a fall, and these injuries can be incredibly painful and challenging to recover from. Reducing the chances of trips and falls occurring is the best way to keep your parents safe and less likely to be injured.
Creating a safe living environment will help to minimise the chances of your parents falling. This can be achieved by keeping walkways clear of furniture and clutter to reduce the chances of trip hazards. Installing handrails next to steps is also a helpful way to reduce falls and will help your parents to feel more confident when using them.
As well as trying to reduce the chances of your parent suffering a fall, it is also crucial to put measures in place to protect them if they do fall over. Using a fall alarm for elderly people is an excellent way to provide further peace of mind to you and your parents.
The fall alarm can be activated by your parents with the simple push of a button, enabling them to get help even if no one else is around to assist them. Fall alarms are especially useful for older adults that live alone and can help to reduce some of the anxiety your parents may have about falling over and no one being around to help them.
Alternatively, you can consider assisted senior living and memory care facilities where your elderly parents can receive the care and support they need in a safe and supervised environment. By choosing a facility with trained staff and safety measures in place, you can have peace of mind knowing that your parents are being taken care of in a secure living environment.
Keep Loneliness at Bay
Loneliness is a common problem in modern society but one that many people are reluctant to admit to experiencing. Loneliness is not limited to older adults, but many senior citizens experience feelings of loneliness and isolation.
There are many possible causes of loneliness, and some older adults may go for long periods without speaking to anyone or seeing any visitors. The impact of loneliness does not just affect a person’s emotional wellbeing; it can also harm their physical health.
So, where possible, taking steps to reduce the amount of time your elderly parents spend alone can be highly beneficial. Whether you decide to take your parents out more regularly to get them out of the house and into the fresh air, or your simply phone them more often for a chat, it is essential to try and keep loneliness at bay for the sake of your parent’s physical and mental health.
If you do not have time to commit to seeing your parents more frequently, carrying out some research to see if there is a day centre in the local area that offers activities for seniors is a great idea.
Don’t Forget About Yourself
Taking care of your parent’s health can feel like a full-time job, which is not great when you have a host of responsibilities to manage in your own life. It is easy to run yourself ragged and burn out when trying to juggle your regular activities alongside looking after your parents.
To prevent this from happening, it is vital to try and protect your own health and wellbeing as best you can. Sticking with a diet, exercise, and sleep routine will help you stay healthy and continue helping your parents.