Caring for aging parents

Posted by Bert Hodous, M.D.
February 12, 2016

aging parentsAs time goes on, it is important to think about taking responsibility to care for our aging parents. It is difficult for most people to think about, which is why it sometimes can be poorly handled. It may come sooner for others; but, there may come a time when our parents need us.

Caring for aging parents is about communication and putting their health and well-being above everything else. Follow these strategies for adults with aging parents to make dealing with the situation as stress free as possible:

Ask yourself a few questions to evaluate the situation:

  • Are my parents safe in their home?
  • How well are they taking care of themselves?
  • How are their spirits?
  • Are they having difficulty getting around the house?

When asking yourself these questions, think as though you are evaluating the situation from a caregiver’s perspective. If you answer “no” to any of these questions, it is important to take action. As their caregiver, you must think about their health and independence, as well as the proper way to handle an emergency.  

Compile a list of your parents’ health care providers, allergies, medications, surgeries, insurance information and other important information. Also, talk to them about long-term care and their living wills. This way, if an emergency arises, you will be prepared to make an important decision.

Being a caregiver for an aging parent can be difficult. Seek help from other family members, or contact social service agencies for additional help.

Bert Hodous, M.D., is a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare in Arcadia.

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