When you have parents or grandparents who are starting to get to that age where their physical and mental capabilities may be declining, it can be stressful. You may be worried about their health as well as their safety, but you aren’t really sure how to help them and make sure that they are alright.
This responsibility that adult children feel for their parents is very common. The reality of aging is that bodies will no longer be able to do the activities that the person could do when they were younger, and their mental strength may lead to forgetfulness or poor decision-making. All you want to do is make sure that your loved one remains healthy and safe for as long as possible.
There are plenty of ways that you can help your elderly family member stay healthy and safe as they age in the state of Missouri. Here are a few ideas that you could suggest or discuss with them that can benefit their wellness right away.
One of the largest risk factors for mental health in older populations is loneliness. The older they get, the more likely they are to have fewer friends that they grew up with alive. Not to mention, their own parents have likely passed on or are very close to doing so. This can leave people in a difficult state of loneliness that can lead to depression and severe mental decline. Finding ways to keep your loved ones engaged in the community for as long as possible can do wonders for their social and emotional health. They could participate in hobby-focused groups, dance classes, or even surrogate grandparenting if they have no grandchildren to dote on. These activities will benefit them socially, mentally, and even physically, and there are plenty of ideas for involvement in Missouri communities that could work.
In some cases, our older family members are becoming less capable of taking care of themselves. Whether this is due to severe health issues, poor dietary choices, or the need for 24/7 available care, it may no longer be possible for them to live at home. Though it could be a difficult conversation, bringing up the suggestion of long-term care facilities may be the right step for your loved one. These institutions can meet their ongoing physical needs and are well-equipped to handle all scenarios. Though abuse can happen in some Missouri-based nursing homes, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Physical health is often very dependent on mental health. When you are concerned about the well-being of your aging parent or grandparent, the best thing for them could be for you to visit a little bit more, especially if you have grandchildren to bring along. Familial interaction is proven to enhance the health of older individuals, and nothing engages their minds and bodies more than spending time with a young child. Together, they can play games, participate in hobbies, share stories, and much more. Doing this is beneficial for the health of the adult, and also helps with the mental development of the grandchild. Plus, visiting often will encourage more physical activity.
One of the biggest concerns for older individuals is their safety and security. They may not be able to protect themselves from harm as well as they used to, with slower reactions and weaker bones/muscles. There are ways that you can make the home safer for older individuals, such as additional lighting, sensor-based lights, and widening doorways. While internal safety concerns are important, so too is safety from outside threats. Installing an updated security system could give you and your elderly loved one peace of mind. Also, maybe it is time to discuss potential scams that often target elderly populations. Even though your family member could be hesitant to acknowledge their greater capacity for danger, it is important to be honest and open about these safety concerns.
The best way to take care of your aging loved ones in Missouri is to take their opinions into account. Don’t just make the decisions for them or tell them what they need to be doing to be healthier. Instead, ask what their interests are and how they feel about staying healthy and safe. How do they view themselves at this stage of life?
When you take their wishes into account, then you can conduct thorough research about ways to care for them that will line up with what they want. If you open up an honest dialogue, it will be easier to compromise when inevitable pushback occurs. In general, when people get older, there are specific ways that they want to do things. If you come prepared with ideas and their interests in mind, then you can come up with a care plan together.