Care For Elderly Parents – A Simple Idea That Keeps Aging Parents Independent As Long As Possible

2 Responses

by Martin Sabel

Having a problem talking to your parents about their growing older?

You have a lot of company. There are a number of reasons it’s so hard for us boomers to face this issue with our aging parents. One reason is selfish.

Watching an elderly parent get older is hard to accept. We still want to see our mom and dad as active, healthy, middle-aged folks. Watching them struggle with their physical changes reminds us we’re aging, too. Watching them struggle with losses in hearing, sight, mobility, mental sharpness and physical strength reminds us of the health issue we find ourselves dealing with every day.

It’s hard to face the reality that our parents just aren’t as vibrant and independent as they once were. But it’s a reality nonetheless. Just take a look at our hospitals. They fix ailments there. Most stay full. And the majority of patients are over the age of 65.

So the first step is recognizing these changes as an inevitable part of living. The next step is asking yourself “What can I do to help my mom and dad stay healthy and independent for as long as possible?”

Here are 5 things adult children should stay alert to when visiting elderly parents.

1. Loss of hearing.

It took my dad several years of us chiding him before he agreed to get a hearing aid. According to the American Geriatrics Society, over half of all people over 65 experience some hearing loss. Hearing loss can be dangerous when driving. It can also cause you dad to misunderstand medical instructions from his doctor. If one of your parents has a hearing loss, try speaking slightly increase the volume of your voice and lower your pitch. High frequency sounds become harder to hear. Face your parent when speaking so they can see your lips and gestures.

2. Loss of vision.

My mom suffers from macular degeneration. Vision loss is quite common in older adults. That’s why they need a complete eye exam at least every 2 years. Magnifying glasses and large print books make it easier for them to read. It may be advisable to improve the lighting in the darker areas of your parents home.

3. Risk of Falling

The elder are 10 times more likely to end up hospitalized after a fall than children. They are eight times more likely to die as the result of a fall. It’s a serious hazard for the over 65 crowd. If balance or strength is fading, make sure your parents discuss it with their doctor. If their strength and balance can not be improved, a cane, walker or wheelchair may be appropriate. Be sure to check their house for tripping hazards. Secure loose rugs, place poorly located extension cords out of traffic areas and think about placing non-slip rubber mats in bathing areas.

4. Watch for a loss of interest in activities that once brought pleasure

It can be a sign or depression or mental disease. The wives of one of my clients realized something was wrong with her scientist husband when he quit playing golf. It was his passion for years. When she checked with his golfing buddies, she learned that several months earlier he let others keep his score. He was no longer able to add up the stokes. It was her first sign her husband suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease.

5. Review their cash flow and assets

If your parents will allow you, examine his or her financial management by reviewing their checkbook, bank statements, credit-card statements and canceled checks

See if they are properly keeping track of deposits and expenses. Have duplicate payments been made? Do you see a lot of checks to home shopping network, contests, sweepstakes? Look for unusually large charitable donations or checks to people you don’t know. These could be signs of approaching dementia.

With a better understanding of the aging process, you can forge a stronger family bond while helping elderly parents enjoy a dignified, quality of life in their later years.

Care for elderly parents can be demanding. With the right information you can avoid mistakes and unnecessary stress. Martin Sabel delivers valuable eldercare insights so you make better decisions faster, with less stress and heartache. Access FREE Weekly Elder Care Tips by visiting

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2 Responses to Care For Elderly Parents – A Simple Idea That Keeps Aging Parents Independent As Long As Possible

  1. Colleen Dodd says:

    I’m having issues with my aging mother. She’s still quite healthy at 73 but she is experiencing some memory loss. When my dad died six years ago, my mom was totally dependent on me to take care of all the financial affairs associated with his passing. When my dad became ill, my marriage was on the edge of failure but my mom needed my help to physically care for him because he refused to follow up with scheduled doctor appointments. I felt it was the perfect time for me to step in and help, even though I brought my three young children with me and filed for divorce while we were living with my mom and dad. After my dad died and all my “work” was done to get mom’s set on the road to independent living, we moved out. Their home was too small for all of us anyway and my mom and I have never seen eye to eye on many things, so being apart was the best thing at the time, so she she could grieve in peace and move forward with her life. After renting for a year, I had to make a decision about continuing to rent housing for my children and myself or buying a home. I looked for months and then finally a couple weeks before I had to sign a new rental lease, a home in my mom’s neighborhood went up for sale. I viewed it as a “sign” that that was where my children and I needed to be for mutual support between my mom and me. I also thought that it would be good for the future to be near my mom as she aged and needed to receive more care from me, her only child. Now I’m stuck here with a home which is declining in value and I’m having difficulty paying my home loan and have asked the bank for a modification so we can stay here. I also have a disabled child which makes my finding employment difficult since he has numerous medical appointments in a city about 250 miles away. My mom has stated openly that she expects me to stay here in the neighborhood so I can take care of her as she ages yet she is unwilling to financially help me stay here now that I am unemployed and facing possible foreclosure. She continues to fill her home with what I consider meaningless objects that she has no use for and continues to buy my children thing they don’t need, but says she is unable to help me financially to stay in my home. I am beginning to feel so resentful toward her. Yes, I made the choice to be near her to help her in the future, but she claims she can’t help me with my bills in our financial crisis when I know she has the means to do so. How do I move forward, “cut the cord,” and feel good about my decision. I’m beginning to get over the feeling of obligation to her I once held because I know my family and I cannot survive here without my getting a great job again, making enough money to pay for full-time child care since my mom does not want to care for my children, but my mom insists that I will not find economic prosperity anywhere else, like if we moved to the city where my son receives frequent medical care. The travel, my financial crisis, and the insistence of my mom that I remain here to care for her are tearing me apart emotionally and stressing me out to the point where all I want to do is pack up my family and move far, far away. I welcome any suggestions that might me get back to the happy single mom. I once was.

  2. Colleen Dodd says:

    p.s. – My mom has no real life. She only leaves her home to go to church, do shopping and work in her yard. She has zero friends who live in our small community. Her closest friends live ten hours away in another state.

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