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While it is inevitable, facing the fact that our parents get older as we do can be challenging. It often comes with intense emotions but can also be a way to reminisce about our precious time with our elders. However, old age can also be synonymous with illness and bad health. It can be scary, but it is important to notice the warning signs and what to do afterward. Here are some valuable tips.
Certification to Care for Adults
While we might have a solid wish to care for our elderly parents, we might not have the necessary health knowledge. This is where adult-gerontology acute care comes in handy. By taking the AGACNP post master’s certificate available online in Boston, nurse practitioners can strengthen their clinical competencies. In four semesters, nurses have the ability to learn about caring for adults as well as older adults with acute illness. This includes advanced pharmacologic management and diagnostic testing interpretation of critically ill patients.
While the program is only for those with a degree in nursing and an active nursing license, obtaining specific caring abilities, such as helping with personal hygiene, can be valuable knowledge.
Look For The Signs For Help
Many people know their parents just as well as themselves. But sometimes, there might be signs of alarming changes that we might not be aware of. Some changes come from being older, but others might be more problematic. These are signs of problems with memory, like asking the same questions repeatedly. If their home is messier or cluttered, this could also be a sign that their health is in decline.
Furthermore, signs like poor hygiene, confusion and leaving a burning stove unattended can all be signs of declining health. If there is an immediate need to address a safety issue, like handrails in the bathroom, in order for them not to fall, it can be a good idea to create a plan as soon as possible.
Remember To Get Their Perspective
If your elderly parents are showing warning signs of declining health, it is essential to share your concerns with them. Sharing and letting other people share their concerns with parents can motivate them to see a doctor. However, patience is critical in these conversations. While the children might feel inclined to resolve the issue immediately, this can be a bitter pill for the parents. Therefore, taking a different approach might be better. Listening to the parent’s concerns will make them feel heard, show respect and potentially create a stronger foundation for change.
Learning About The Legalities
In some unfortunate cases, the families discover the warning signs too late, when the parent’s mental capacity is considered “incompetent.” This term matters in terms of legal issues, as mentally incompetent means a person incapable of taking care of themselves or their property because of physical illness or senility. This can be due to age-related mental issues like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
If your parent(s) is considered “incompetent,” this can affect your situation. In situations where they might not have the mental capacity to understand the risks, you might be able to intervene – legally. Understanding your parent’s cognitive capabilities and legalities can be crucial for specific situations.
Consider Your Capabilities
Taking care of an aging parent is no easy task. It can take a toll on the family situation and also the caregiver. Therefore, it is crucial to acknowledge the balance between the parent’s needs and the caregiver’s capabilities. Helping with personal hygiene and meal preparation might be possible in cases when the caregiver is close to the parent.
But for caregivers who live far away, their capabilities might only be limited to family support and social interaction. While there is no shame in one or the other, it can be an idea to discuss the idea of an in-home caregiver. The caregiver can help with meal preparation and housework while the family is away.
The Safety or Health-rule
It can be a difficult task to be a caregiver and a family member at the same time, especially if the parent can be stubborn in resisting help. However, it is essential to respect the autonomy of the parent. Therefore, it is a good idea to remember the rules of safety or health. If the parent is doing something you disagree with, consider the scenario from a safety or health perspective. If it doesn’t matter to either of those things, it can help to let go of unrealistic expectations of the parent.
The Possibility of A Nursing Home
Caring for aging parents can be hard on the family’s physical and mental health. But knowing you don’t have to do it alone is important. While some seniors might be hesitant to stay at a nursing home, it is important to discuss caregiving possibilities. There is the option of in-home caregivers, whom the family can hire privately or by an agency. Then, there is the possibility of assisted living facilities, where seniors who live alone can get help around the clock.
One of the last possibilities is getting a spot in a nursing home. This way, they are surrounded by other older people and can get help with daily tasks like meals, personal hygiene, etc. While a nursing home can be great for some, it can also be a significant change. Furthermore, it can be an expensive form of long-term care. Therefore, it is essential to ask about the parent’s opinion.
Dealing With Difficult Emotions
When going through a difficult time with aging parents, there can be a myriad of feelings that follow the experience. These emotions can be intense, and it can be even more difficult if you aren’t prepared for them. These might be initial reactions like fear, as the parents will be less capable, which can turn into a form of role reversal. Now, you become their caretaker.
After the first few months, you might experience emotions like sadness and anger, all normal reactions to a situation like this. It’s always important to accept these reactions as they come and only take on a reasonable amount of responsibility.
Taking Care Of Yourself
If some of the emotions become too difficult to deal with, speaking with friends about it is possible. They might be able to relate to your situation or at least be a shoulder to cry on. But in some cases, it might be necessary to get help from therapy. By speaking to a therapist, you can get the support you need.