The number of people aged 65 and over in the UK has grown by nearly 50% in the past 30 years. While it’s great news for the population that people are living longer, it does mean that older people are more vulnerable to physical and mental health problems.
Unfortunately, many people will experience a physical decline or deterioration in the fifties, which is why some people can find it difficult to secure employment or start to plan for their retirement. As people grow older, they may need to lean on their family members for physical and emotional support. Learn how you can help to care for an aging parent.
How Can I Preserve My Parent’s Independence?
It is essential for your parent’s self-esteem to preserve their independence for as long as possible. Unless they are living with impaired mobility or a serious health issue, you should allow them to perform daily activities whilst they can, such as personal hygiene, functional mobility, self-feeding, bathing, and dressing. Once they can no longer perform the tasks, you will need to provide your mum or dad with the appropriate help, such as an at-home caregiver or nursing home.
Personal alarms can provide peace of mind to both you and your aging parent. After all, while you might be worried about their health and safety at home, they might feel vulnerable when living alone or with a spouse who also has a health condition.
There are options with Helpline, a personal care alarm service that’s available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. So, in the event of an emergency, your loved one will press a button to instantly reach their Emergency Response Centre, who will alert a family member, emergency services, or a doctor, depending on the accident severity.
What Tasks Should I Perform for an Elderly Parent?
Performing chores and errands for your loved one could simplify their life, especially as the effects of aging start to kick in. For instance, you can help them remain in the home alone by preparing and cooking their meals, cleaning, buying groceries, and providing them with their medications. Gain an understanding of their health and attempt to identify their limitations, so you can make a judgement on what they can or can’t do each day.
Could My Mum or Dad be Living with Depression?
Living with a health issue, limited mobility, and decreased independence can all eat away at an elderly person’s happiness. It’s for this reason why 28% of women and 22% of men over 65 years old are living with depression. Yet, it’s believed 85% of this figure receive no help from the NHS. It is, therefore, crucial to look for signs of depression in your aging parents, such as sadness or despair, sleep disturbances, low self-worth, weight loss, unexplained pains, or a lack of energy. Depression is not a natural part of aging, and it’s vital they receive medical attention to lift their mood.
What’s more, you should also find ways to improve your loved one’s quality of life. For example, their depression could stem from isolation or loneliness, which is why you should regularly visit your aging parent, and encourage your loved ones to do the same. You should also encourage them to embrace their passion and hobbies, and take them on trips outdoors to provide them with a change of scenery and fresh air.