May is Older Americans Month. This is the ideal opportunity for you to celebrate your caregiver relationship with your parents, and encourage them to make the most of this chapter in their life. One way that you can encourage your parents to live their highest quality of life as they age in place is to empower them to take control of their health. If your senior is like most older adults, they may be dealing with several health issues. These might be the reason they need support and care from you, or they might further the challenges your parent faces that require care. By empowering your parent to take control of these issues, and to take the steps to protect their health from further issues, you encourage them to have more independence, to maintain better mental and emotional health, and to enjoy a more fulfilling lifestyle moving forward.
Use these tips to empower your parent to take control of their health this Older Americans Month:
Get tested. Encourage your parent to talk to their doctor about the types of tests and screenings available to them. Having these tests and screenings can allow your parent to get diagnosed with health issues at an early stage so they can better choose how to move forward with management, treatment, and care. Early detection is key to getting the best results from this care.
Or don’t. Just because a test or screening is available doesn’t mean your parent has to go through with it. Talk to your parent about their options and empower them to make the decisions about testing that are right for them. Your parent might decide that because they would not want to move forward with any form of extensive treatment, they do not want to undergo screenings. This is a valid choice and should be respected.
Talk about medications. Compliance with medications and guidelines is critical to your parent getting the most benefit from them. Have them talk to their doctor about each of the medications that they are taking to make sure that they need to continue taking them, and that they are taking them properly. They may find that they are taking excessive medications, or that they are not following guidelines properly, which could be negatively impacting their health.
Choose a healthy lifestyle. You can support your parent and help them to manage their needs, but much of staying healthy will come from your parent making good lifestyle choices. Encourage them to change their diet, find healthy foods that they enjoy and stay active to boost their health, and ward off further health challenges as they age in place.
How can senior care help?
Being a family caregiver can be one of the most meaningful decisions you make during your life. This is an opportunity for you to spend quality time with your parent, give back to them, show them your love and respect, and make sure they get the care they need throughout their later years. This role can also be one of the most challenging and sometimes overwhelming you can experience as well. You may find yourself feeling as though you are unable to fulfill your parent’s needs in the ways they need and deserve, or that they would benefit from further care.
Fortunately, home care can help. An in-home care provider can be with your aging parent on a customized schedule to fill care gaps, handle care tasks that are too challenging or that you do not feel comfortable managing, and ensure you have the time to handle other obligations in your life. This will relieve your stress, support quality of life, and allow you to focus on your relationship with your parent while knowing they have everything they need to manage their individual challenges and issues.