As your parents get older, their health is going to deteriorate – it is an inevitable part of the aging process. This is going to be a tough time for everyone involved .
Your parents will feel like they are losing part of their independence.
And you will gradually change roles, from child to caregiver. Which can cause a lot of friction for everyone involved.
Remember when you were a teenager in school and your parents asked you how school was for the day? Fine was the standard answer. In many ways your parents will resort to that same line of logic. Fine will become the new norm to any question you may bring up.
And when their world is “fine” in their eyes, they may miss or even hide things from you, their friends and loved ones, and even their doctors and other professional resources.
Which is why its now your time to step up to the plate. It is important that you be an advocate for your parents, whether you live far away or just next door. You need to be a voice for them when they are unable to be their own voice. These tips will help you advocate for your elderly parents.
Try to stay close – if you live far away, consider moving closer or moving your parents closer to you. If that is impossible, check in on a regular basis and find a professional caregiver that can fill in for the times you aren’t there.
Be ready to travel at a moment’s notice, in case of emergency. Have a bag packed and a plan in place, in the event that you must leave for a few days to tend to your parents’ needs.
Try to attend as many of their doctor’s appointments as possible. Voice your opinion and questions at each appointment. Do not be afraid of being too vocal – if you want a particular test ran, insist upon it. It is your turn to ensure that your parents receive all necessary medical care.
Make sure you understand your parents’ insurance coverage. Ask questions of the provider and make any necessary changes to ensure they have the coverage needed to take care of their medical needs.
Monitor their daily routine as much as possible. If you are unable to stop by each day, arrange for a friend or neighbor to check on them.
Monitor their medication. Make note of any changes in behavior when a new medication is started, so you can discuss the changes with their doctor. Keep notes with any concerns or questions you might have.
Remember to take care of yourself, too. Seek support if you need to talk or if you need help. You are only one person – you cannot do everything all the time.
Keep the lines of communication open with your parents. It is important for them to feel comfortable talking to you about their own concerns and problems, so you can help them find a solution.