Aging is a graceful phase for some. It is where people retire to a more peaceful life after realizing that everything they had struggled for when they were younger is now coming to fruition. However, for others, the process can be very challenging. Without a robust support system from family, some elderlies face their remaining days feeling alone and neglected in their living place.
Mortal as we are, we cannot avert the inevitable – our body will soon no longer function at its best like it used to. Our memories will fail, and our energy will eventually deplete. Every one of us is subject to that fate, including our parents, who, at this very moment, maybe experiencing its early effects. As we grow older with our parents still with us, we can only ask for one thing – that we may spend more time together, as we return the favor of taking good care of them as they did us.
Apart from the declining mental health and increasing anxiety, elderlies also deal with physical issues that arise as they age. Just like a machine that wears and tears over time, so is our physical body. Problems like osteoporosis, arthritis, chronic cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, among all others, are expected to knock the human body, whose defense system is now weakened by age. Difficult and scary as this may seem, it is a reality that we had to accept and live with. Nevertheless, it does not mean that we can’t do a thing or two to help our elderly deal with the process. Here’s how.
1. SIMPLIFY THEIR LIVING SPACE
Since our elderlies begin to have certain limitations on things they can do, we have to make sure that they can navigate easily within their living space. Preferably, locate their bedrooms on the main floor so that they won’t have to go up the stairs every time they go to bed.
Carpet flooring is ideal compared to tiles, as the latter tends to be more slippery, especially when wet. It will be optimal to install grabbing mechanisms and handles at strategic points in their bedroom and within their living space, to assist them in going to and fro your home.
As much as possible, give them access to the lawn or garden to exercise their leg muscles through short walks and stretches. It also helps free their mind of unhealthy thoughts if they busy themselves with plants and flowers.
2. INTRODUCE AN IMPROVED ROUTINE
Growing older requires a change in perspective and daily habits. With their arthritis manifesting already, we can’t expect them to do tedious physical tasks. So, we must introduce them to a new routine and hobbies that favor their situation. For instance, we can help them plan their task for the day and pinpoint what tasks are doable. This way, we can assist them in taking control of their schedule and letting them feel relevant.
We can also suggest some alternatives to their usual physical activities that they can no longer perform. For example, if they jog every morning, we can motivate them to have short walks instead.
3. MAINTAIN PROPER NUTRITION
Now, more than ever, our seniors need proper nutrition to combat the adverse effects of aging. Since they are more prone to diseases and complications, we have to know what food is essential to their situation. In addition, if our oldies were dealing with obesity, diabetes, and other digestive problems, we have to be aware of what they cannot eat and stuff that could worsen their condition.
Organic food is still the best choice that we have to maintain our old parents’ nutrition. Of course, supplements and vitamins work as well, but nothing beats natural. We can be creative in preparing their meal, too, and come up with a variety of healthy food.
4. ASSISTING THEIR VISION
With aging comes reduced function of the senses. Reduced vision is prevalent in people growing old due to macular degeneration. With poor eyesight, they might end up taking the wrong meds or eating expired goods without our knowledge. Aside from providing them with a pair of reading glasses, it will best if we increase the size of the labels of their medication containers and the font size and icons on their gadgets. Doing this improves their quality of life as independent seniors.
5. MAKE THE LIVING SPACE SAFER
Living with our aging parents is challenging and stressful, at the very least — we have to make sure that the house is safe enough for them to move around freely. Our old parents tend to be more uncoordinated due to lack of balance and so, we have to adjust our living space for them. To make our living area safer and more ideal for them, we can eliminate unnecessary furniture and displays. When living with kids, we must gather small toys like legos and toy trucks and put them where they belong because these could cause accidental falls among our elderly. Decluttering our house with unimportant mess can also be a great way of keeping everyone in the place safe and keeping the house tidy and organized.