How Do You Deal With Sick Elderly Parents?

How do you cope with having elderly parents who are ill or frail? Are they able to take care of themselves? How do you manage their health issues without being overwhelmed?

How Do You Deal With Sick Elderly Parents

As our population ages, the number of older adults living at home is increasing. This means more responsibility for family members to provide care for them.

The average age of death for Americans is now 78 years old. That means that nearly half of us will experience some form of aging-related illness.

Older adults often live alone, and family members may be reluctant to ask for help. If you want to stay close to your parents, you’ll need to develop strategies to support them.

Often, elderly members become sick and this can be hard to deal with. You need to approach them, deal with them correctly, and ensure they are receiving the proper care and treatment they deserve.

In this article, we look at how you deal with sick elderly parents and what your next steps should be.

Aging In Place: A New Approach To Home Care

The term “aging in place” refers to a way of life in which people continue to reside in their homes for as long as possible.

It’s not just about staying put; it also involves making changes to make sure that your loved ones can still function safely and independently and prevent them from getting sicker in the comfort of their own home.

The idea behind this approach is simple: Helping older adults maintain independence in their own homes requires planning.

For example, if someone needs assistance getting up from bed, he or she might have to use a walker or wheelchair, but their home may not have the space to accommodate such a thing.

Another common hurdle is stairs. Many elderly people cannot safely climb and descend stairs, which renders half of their home unreachable. To combat this, you’ll have to plan for the installation of a chairlift.

In addition to providing safety, there are many other benefits to aging in place. According to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (NAAOA), “Homebound seniors are less likely to be depressed, lonely, isolated, confused, forgetful, or fall.”

They’re also less likely to require nursing home placement and they are less likely to become sick.

The NAAOA found that individuals who lived in their homes until they were 85 had better physical functioning than those who moved into assisted living facilities before reaching that milestone.

It’s important to note that the concept of aging in place isn’t limited to senior citizens. Anyone can benefit from this lifestyle change. 

But what if they do become sick? What do you do then? In this next section, we look at this and give you suggestions on how to deal with sick elderly parents.

How Do You Deal With Sick Elderly Parents?

Assess Their Condition

If you notice any signs of illness in your parents, such as coughing, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or weight loss, you need to act quickly. These symptoms could indicate something serious like pneumonia or cancer.

If your parent seems healthy but is experiencing pain, you should take action. Pain can be caused by many different conditions including arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, and even cancer.

They should be seen by a medical professional who will advise you of treatment and care going forward.

Make Sure Your Parent Is Receiving Proper Treatment

Once you’ve determined that your parent is ill, you need to make sure that he or she is receiving appropriate medical attention. This means visiting your parent regularly if they are admitted to the hospital so that you know when he or she is feeling well enough to return home.

You should also check in with your doctor periodically. He or she will be able to tell you whether your parent is responding to medication and whether his or her condition is improving. 

Provide Support

Your goal is to help your parent stay safe and comfortable while recovering. If your parent is unable to care for himself or herself when they return home from the hospital, you may want to consider hiring a caregiver to assist.

Your local health department can recommend caregivers who meet certain criteria. However, remember that these people are not trained nurses, so they won’t be able to perform all of the tasks that a nurse does.

If they need constant medical care, they should be kept in a medical facility where they can receive this.

Consider Moving Them To A Nursing Home

While you don’t necessarily always want to move your parent to a nursing home, sometimes this is necessary. There are many reasons why moving an elderly loved one to a nursing home may be the best option.

For example, if your parent becomes too weak to live independently, a nursing home can provide the level of care that he or she needs.

Additionally, a nursing home can offer more specialized services that your parent might need. For instance, some nursing homes have rehabilitation centers where patients can receive physical therapy.

Others provide respite care for family members who need time away from the patient. Others focus on caring for Alzheimer’s disease patients and dementia patients.

Understand The Costs Of Caregiving

As mentioned above, it can cost quite a bit of money to hire someone to assist your parent. It’s important to understand that there are costs associated with every decision you make.

How Do You Deal With Sick Elderly Parents (1)

The good news is that Medicare covers most of the expenses related to caring for an older adult. But you still need to budget carefully and remember the costs will be going towards making sure your loved one lives out the rest of their life comfortably.

Create An Emergency Plan

It’s never fun to think about what would happen if your parent were suddenly taken away from you. That’s why it’s important to create an emergency plan.

This plan should include information on how you’ll contact each other, what steps you’ll take next, and who you’ll call upon if anything happens.

Final Thoughts

We hope that we’ve been able to give you some helpful tips on dealing with sick elderly parents. We wish you luck as you continue to care for them and hope they can find comfort again after receiving the treatment they deserve.

If you are struggling to care for your sick elderly parent at home, you can always consider hiring a caregiver to help you out or making the move into a nursing home.

Although this move might be hard, it might be the best thing for them and it means you can go back to attending to responsibilities you may have otherwise neglected as a result of committing to caring duties.

Eddie Lamb