According to the CDC, almost 40 million Americans are over the age of 65. Many adult children care for aging parents in one way or another. Thankfully, there are many resources available to help you learn to help your parents. As you take on a caretaker role, remember to attend to your own needs. You’re more help to your elderly parents when you’re feeling healthy and secure.

Establish Routines and Boundaries
If you’re just transitioning into a caretaker role, be explicit about your role in your aging parent’s life. Seniors deserve respect and understanding that it isn’t easy to relinquish responsibilities and independence. Sit down with your parent and discuss what you’ll be helping with and what you won’t be helping with. Talk about healthy boundaries, such as when it’s okay to drop by and when it’s not. Establish times to check in with one another. Ask about being added as an emergency contact with all your parent’s health care providers.

Encourage Hobbies and Social Time
If independence is lost, or a parent is dealing with chronic health issues, depression can take its toll. Help your aging loved one take on appropriate hobbies and maintain a social life. If some tasks have become difficult, see if you can help with upgraded tools and accessories that assist individuals with impaired eyesight and fine motor skills. Don’t rule out travel. Look into senior discounts on everything from train tickets to passes to national parks. Find out if your local community offers free groups and social events for seniors. Help your aging loved one play safe online. For example, you can help a parent set up a free Facebook account to keep up with children and grandchildren.

Assist with Health and Safety
Chances are, your aging parents require more maintenance when it comes to health and safety. Learn exactly what your senior parent’s health routine is, especially when it comes to medications. You may need to help put together a calendar of prescription expiration dates and assist with a daily medication plan. Consider tagging along on doctor’s appointments. Make sure your aging parent is eating appropriately, with access to a wide variety of nutritious foods. Help guard your parent against schemes that prey on the elderly, and be aware of signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

North Hills Hospital offers senior patients medical care designed specifically for those ages 65 and older at our Senior Health Clinic. We also offer Senior Educational Seminars to provide support and insight into preventative care. Visit us online or call our clinic at 817-255-1940.

Resources for Caretakers and Seniors
Eldercare’s Guide to Federal Websites’s Senior Citizens’ Resources

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Caretaker Resources: Assisting Seniors with Senior Living
Understanding the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
What to Bring to the E.R.