There is good news to share on the current health of our society: people are living longer than ever before. With that news comes a caveat, in that longer life spans confront us with new and often daunting challenges, especially when it comes to caring for an aging family member.
Sometimes, crisis strikes suddenly, and responsibility for a loved one becomes thrust onto your shoulders. Your mother falls and breaks a hip. Dad experiences a side effect of his medication. Other times, the weight of becoming a caregiver comes gradually, giving you time to plan and make arrangements for your parents. When this happens, what do you do? What steps can you take? We know the challenges that come when we watch our parents age, and we have to find a transfer service. At Affordable Burials and Cremations, we recommend four steps to our neighbors in Toronto take to prepare for your family.
- Arm yourself with knowledge.
Today, we have the astounding advantage of the Internet and the wealth of information that it can pour right onto our desktops. Sites like Aging Parents and Elder Care offer enormous amounts of excellent information about problems your parents may encounter.
- Watch for warning signs.
Keep an eye out for early symptoms like difficulty walking, unsteadiness, or falling. Often, older people neglect their grooming and hygiene, lose their appetite, or change their eating habits. They may begin to leave spoiled food in the refrigerator or unopened mail on the table. Forgetfulness can lead to mishandling of medication, which can lead to additional, more dangerous complications.
- Assess the situation.
What challenges is your loved one facing? How will you address the problems? Some of the issues may be correctable. Elderly individuals often take several types of drugs that can interact negatively and cause damage. You can look up information on prescription drug interactions, but always contact a doctor if you have significant concerns about medication.
Aging loved ones are also susceptible to vitamin deficiencies, which can cause symptoms similar to age dementia. Consult a doctor to test for deficiencies and learn if changes in medication or routine can resolve them. Unfortunately, many problems are a natural consequence of aging. They are not easily corrected, and you will need to decide what kind of assistance your loved one needs. Think carefully about living arrangements. Consider whether the person can remain in their own home or if you must take the step of moving them to a facility near you or another family member.
- Prepare before the problem.
Some elderly individuals have the forethinking to make plans for their inevitable health and living problems while others may not. It is all too common for a person in declining health to deny the situation and not have the documents and other information you will need. It may be a difficult conversation to have. Still, it would help if you ask your parents about their wishes, medical history, and financial history so that you can help them receive the best care down the road. You can also take steps to help them preplan and save for their funeral or cremation service, so you both have one less thing to worry you. Furthermore, many adults with aging parents never see the inside of an assisted living facility until a parent needs one, and there is little time to consider options. It’s always better to do preemptive research about resources in Toronto to ensure you’re informed when facing a decision.
The biggest challenge when you switch roles and become the caregiver for your parent is providing the type of caring and compassion they require while still maintaining a life of your own. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. We are always available to assist you with questions or concerns about the best care for your loved one. You are welcome to call or visit us at any time to discuss preplanning a funeral service with your loved ones, keeping them involved, and ensuring their final wishes will be seen through.
Contact us today for additional resources and support.
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