There aren’t many constants in life, but aging is certainly one of them. Everyone grows old – and when our face gets wrinkly and our hair turns white, we look back to reminisce about our younger days, when we were fit, strong and so full of life.
Unfortunately, when we are elderly, we can no longer afford to be as independent as we once were. Perhaps it would be the fact that we have trouble walking, or maybe our minds are no longer as sharp as they once were. Whatever it is, we are all victims of infinite time. Thus, it is vital that in the future we rely on our beloved children or loved ones to take care of us.
What tools are needed to take care of the elderly?
To begin, we must first understand a proper concept of what ageing is and how it arises – ageing is simply a collection of all the metabolic and physical changes from external stimuli that have occurred to you since birth.
Your heart has been beating for decades, your bones have supported you for ages, and they have since weakened. Your muscles are no longer as dense and strong, skin no longer as taut and mind no longer as brilliant. In order to make up for these physiological weaknesses, certain measures can be taken.
1) Take anticipative measures for physiological deficits they might have
The title speaks for itself, really. If you find that your parents are forgetful, set up an alarm that rings every day it is time for them to take their medications. If your parents have brittle bones, purchase calcium supplements for them and set up a consult with an orthopaedist.
If they are prone to falls, ensure that they have access to quick help when necessary, and consider hiring a caregiver to help them move about. Remember, prevention is better than a cure, and there is no price for preventing your parents from having accidents.
2) Be involved in their physical health
Consider bringing your parents to your family physician on a regular basis for health checkups. As mentioned above, your parents are weaker than they used to be, and are thus more susceptible to health issues such as Arthritis, Cancer, Heart Disease and Osteoporosis.
Getting a physician to have a physical assessment of your parents would be extremely crucial in finding out about any potential illnesses early, and dealing with them before they become threatening. The government has issued cheap health screenings passes in August 2017 for pioneers – $5 for a full checkup.
Do not forget that staying active and exercising provides not only benefits to an elderly’s physical health, but also their mental health, which I will talk about below. Exercise ensures that the brain chemistry of an individual is kept at normal levels, and prevents Depression.
3) Be involved in their mental health
Depression is very common among the elderly, and the reasons for it are not quite as obvious as you might think. Because the elderly are physically weaker, they might feel dis-incentivized to leave their house. Many of their friends might feel the same way – it isn’t easy for the elderly to meet up for a cup of coffee or go out for a movie.
In addition, because of their age, some of them might even have already passed on, or suffer from neurological diseases such as Dementia, which causes forgetfulness. This lack of social contact can make them feel lonely, and a lack of social support is a cause of Depression.
Thus, it is important to stay in contact with your parents regularly – ask them how have they been and what would they like to do when you visit them. Even having a simple meal together could make their day.