How to Know When Your Aging Loved Ones Need Help
Guest Writer: Sharon Wagner
Simple math will apprise you of a looming generational event. As of 2030, all surviving Baby Boomers will be at least 66 years old. The National Institute of Health estimates there will be 61 million. Like every generation that came before, Boomers will each face gradually diminishing abilities—some more gracefully than others.
If you have loved ones—parents, aunts and uncles, cherished friends—who are in this generation or even older, you may be faced with helping them cope with these inevitable declines. While no one likes to think of family members struggling with inability, it pays to consider these realities before you are forced to deal with them with no preparation.
Watch for These Signs
Bear in mind that carefully watching over your aging relatives is a form of love. You may feel you are snooping when you are actually observing so you can support and protect as necessary. Aging adults who do not want to acknowledge or admit decline can be masters of compensation, meaning they maintain normal appearances. Here are some telltale signs, however, that things are not quite right with your loved ones:
● They become more insular, less social, and less mobile
● They exhibit decreased ability to accomplish regular tasks
● They lose weight, interest in eating and willingness to prepare meals
● They struggle with remembering appointments, names, processes, and medicine
● They express mood changes, seeming depressed or withdrawn
Even from a distance, you can help greatly with your relatives’ nutritional and personal welfare needs. Explore AB Nutrition Solutions’ nutrition services.
Remember the Trustworthy Professionals Nearby
Even though you have accepted the responsibility of watching over aging folks, it does not mean you are now a full-time servant. Chances are, there are professionals nearby who can take a lot of the slack. This helps older adults feel independent.
For instance, gutters usually need to be cleaned twice annually, depending on where you live. Gutter professionals have the tools and expertise required to clean safely and efficiently. You can do a search for ‘clean my gutters near me’ to contact appropriate cleaners nearby to remove debris and check for any problems in case repair or replacement is needed. This will cost your loved ones from $106 to $167 on average, with larger projects going up to $350. More importantly, hiring a professional keeps your family off the ladder.
One of the more difficult propositions you may need to consider is whether to relocate closer to your aging relatives or ask these older adults to move closer to you. Often this works beautifully. Sometimes the outcome is regrettable. To think through these possibilities for yourself and others, here are some questions to ask all those involved:
● How well did we get along in the past, and have circumstances changed?
● Who is making the biggest sacrifice with a move?
● What changes will those involved be asked to make?
Have That Talk If the Time Comes
Older adults often have special health needs that become more pronounced over the years. For your own sake and the ongoing well-being of those you love, you may need to discuss moving them into a retirement or nursing facility. Waiting too long to face this possibility can be destructive to your loved ones and to your own welfare.
The willingness to watch over aging relatives is an unspoken but profound way of expressing love to those who cared for you when you were young. Now you have the opportunity to embody that love in return.