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5 Signs That Your Aging Parents May Need Help

  
  
  
http://safetymom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/2953802-woman-and-her-elderly-mother-cooking-a-meal-together.jpgVisiting your aging parents for the holidays after not having seen them for a while can be eye-opening.  You might notice some changes – confusion when they’re relaying a story,  less agility when they’re getting out of a chair – but there also could be some serious red flags that your parents might need the help of a caregiver or a different living situation.

Here are some things to look for:

Caring for a Parent with Alzheimer’s

  
  
  

As is the case with many bloggers, I find writing about my personal situations is not only cathartic but often times will help one of my readers who is facing a similar situation.  Currently my topic du jour is being an adult child caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s .  As a national family safety and wellness expert, I’ve frequently focused on child and teen issues.  But my career has consistently followed my
life path and now I’m becoming well versed in the issues facing aging parents.

I’m not sure what’s been harder, watching my dad decline and succumb to this horrific affliction or standing by as my mom tries to deny the situation and handle it herself.  Actually that’s not true – it’s been much harder dealing with my mom.  Truth be told, my father and I were never very close.  There has always been an emotional dis-attachment between the two of us.  My mother, on the other hand, has been my best friend forever.   I’ve watched her age before my eyes.  Nurses and social workers have all commented about the incredible care she provides my dad.  Her love for him is endless and, as a result, she has lost herself in becoming a 24/7 caregiver for her husband.


I’ve Saved For My Son’s College But I Didn’t Consider My Parent’s Assisted Living!

  
  
  
Nursing Home Comparison Infographic

Somewhere along the way, someone should have warned me about planning for my aging parent’s future.  I started out in my 20’s saving for my first house.  Then as my kids were born I started saving for their college education.  I thought the next thing I was supposed to be planning for was my retirement, right?  WRONG!  No one ever told me about the exorbitant cost of helping my parents pay for in-home care, assisted living or, even worse, a nursing home.  And, unfortunately, they never considered getting long term care insurance.

When Your Aging Parents Can No Longer Live Alone…And What to Do About It

  
  
  
Farmington PALS

For adult children, the reality that their parent’s health is declining and they can no longer live alone is not always easy to face.  Sometimes it’s a gradual reality and other times it’s a specific event such as a fall in their home or a driving accident.   Independent living, also referred to as aging in place, is not only what seniors would prefer but studies have shown that the emotional and psychological benefits are tremendous.  Unfortunately this isn’t always an option. 

The Evolution of Aging In Place

  
  
  
For elderly individuals in the United States and around the world, "Aging in Place" is a dream that is increasingly becoming a reality. For years, though, such a practice was not practical or feasible, largely due to a lack of infrastructure and services that prevented aging individuals to stay in their preferred living conditions as they get older. Over the last couple of decades, a greater emphasis on "Aging in Place" has been made by government agencies and other businesses and organizations to make it possible for older generations to live their lives as they prefer.

And in most cases, that means continuing to live in the residence in which they hit retirement. According to a report by the AARP, 78 percent of individuals between 50 and 64 years of age state that they would like to stay in their current residence as they get older. This means delaying -- or avoiding entirely -- the necessity for them to live with their children, in assisted living centers, or in nursing homes for the elderly. The greatest challenges facing these persons is the inevitable long-term care needs that develop with age. Fortunately, a new era of care products and services is addressing those needs in the privacy of a person's own home, improving comfort and quality of life without conceding health or safety.

The first major programs enabling older individuals to remain in their homes and communities sprouted up in the 1970s. One model, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, provided assisted care to senior citizens as an alternative to nursing home care. This program enabled seniors to live in their homes for years longer than they previously would have been allowed. Some of these programs are still functional today, although their availability is limited to certain locations and regions.

In the late 1980s, initiatives were launched that sought to create solutions to the housing and care needs of senior citizens. Citing the need for quality of living standards for aging persons with medical problems, some of these programs led to assisted living communities that allowed residents to live almost entirely independent in quality housing while having their various health care needs provided for. Although this required senior citizens to relocate from their home into a new residence and community, it delivered a much better quality of living than many alternatives would have offered, and it allowed these persons to continue to live almost entirely independently.

Providing for the elderly and facilitating "Aging in Place" gained prominence in the late 1990s, when the AARP and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Aging identified the health care and livability needs of the elderly as important issues needing addressing. This triggered a mainstream movement spawning numerous strategies for making "Aging in Place" more accessible on a national level.

One such strategy, which continues to be employed with overwhelming success, is the installation of home modifications to make a person's current home more accommodating to the changes brought by aging. One of the greatest challenges of a typical residence is that common features become greater safety hazards. Stairs are a tripping and falling hazard, slips in showers can lead to serious and/or fatal injuries, and floor hazards can also lead to injury. Additionally, many of these homes lack the features required to serve the health needs of seniors as new problems arise.

Some simple modifications, such as ramps, railings and non-slip floor surfaces can greatly reduce these hazards. But there are still other concerns to wrestle with that require more extreme changes. Companies like Practical Assisted Living Solutions, LLC have created groundbreaking products that provide some of these essential modifications to a home. The PALS module, for example, is a modular addition that can be installed onto a person's home. This module contains a bathroom and living space that accommodates the needs of handicapped individuals, letting them go about their daily routine in safety and comfort. Such a modification brings two of the most important features in to any home, making it possible for partially disabled senior citizens to enjoy the comfort of their own home without sacrificing their health.

Products like the PALS module can be packaged with other installations, modifications or assisted care services to keep senior citizens in their home for as long as possible. With any luck, users of these products will never have to face the day when they are pulled from their home and forced to live out their lives in a nursing home.

 

Nursing Home Closures and What it means for Aging In Place?

  
  
  
Nursing Home Closures

As the baby boomer generation begins to push the long term care industry to develop new ways for long term care there is a lingering question that I think should be addressed:

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