You can’t always be there. But we can.
If your are a family caregiver for an aging parent, you may help them with multiple tasks such as running errands, cleaning their house, and taking care of their pets. When it comes to their health, you probably rely on their doctor to help steer them in the right direction. However, in order to prevent serious medical conditions and illnesses, it is important for you and your loved one to be proactive as they age. For this reason, When you both have a plan in place, difficult decisions can be easier to make and different situations that come up can be easier to manage. Being both proactive and prepared is key, which is why healthy aging plans are so important. But, what does a healthy aging plan look like? Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
* Health Schedule
As your parent ages, visiting the doctor only when they feel sick will no longer be sufficient. In addition to a yearly physical exam, seniors need to get several health screenings to rule out medical conditions and/or to detect and treat them early on. Sit down with your loved one and discuss a “health schedule” with them. Ask them when they last saw their doctor, eye doctor, or dentist and begin planning some appointments. Encourage your loved one to ask their doctor about screenings for cancer, high blood pressure, cholesterol, osteoporosis, and other health conditions, especially if they have a family history.
* Plan for the Unexpected
Do you and your loved one know what you would do if your loved one was suddenly injured from a fall, in a car accident, or became unexpectedly ill? While these situations are not always easy to talk about, you can save the both of you a lot of anxiety and confusion if you discuss your plan for them beforehand. It is a great idea to decide who will help your loved one through any hypothetical recovery or hospital stay.
* Talk About Day to Day Care
If your loved one wishes to remain living in their own home, it is important for you as a caregiver to talk to them about any modifications that may need to be made. As your loved one ages they may need safety items such as grab bars, track lighting, or stair lifts installed. In addition, it is important to talk with them about who might help them if you are unable to such as other family members or a home care aide.