When Your Aging Loved One’s Health Starts to Decline

When Your Aging Loved One’s Health Starts to Decline

For many, the holiday season represents a time to come together and make happy memories. We reminisce about good times and plan for more in the future. However, this time of year may also highlight the true hardships that our aging loved ones start to face regarding their health. Perhaps we see them struggling physically to complete tasks that they previously enjoyed doing with ease, or maybe we notice a slight change in their emotional health. What we need to understand is that, while this is often painful to see and difficult to address, there are things that we can do to make the situation a little better for everyone.

The Signs

Changes in eating habits. weight loss, out-of-the ordinary forgetfulness, mood changes, significant decrease in socialization and activity, lapses in personal hygiene, and unintentionally misusing medications are all signs that shouldn’t be ignored. If you notice your aging loved one exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s time to act. Talk to other family members, and make a plan about how you want to approach the situation. Try to answer some difficult questions, such as, how can we step in to help? Can we reasonably and successfully handle that role? Is it time for our loved one to receive outside help?

Your Negative Feelings Are Normal

In light of the situation, you may experience fear, grief, sadness, anger, frustration, guilt, and anxiety.  You may struggle to accept your new role in the family, and sibling dynamics can become very complicated. Please understand that these intense emotions and thoughts are all completely normal.  It is extremely difficult to realize that your aging parent or loved one is starting to decline physically or mentally (or both).  As these feelings appear, don’t run, don’t avoid the situation, and definitely surround yourself with lots of support from others such as family members, friends, or counselors.  Don’t fight your feelings- it’s healthy to accept and process them. Go at your own pace and make sure you continue to take care of yourself.

Take Action

After you and your family have taken a little time to process and breathe, it’s time to implement a course of action to help your loved one receive the support that they need in regards to their deteriorating health. Make sure that you address the status of insurance policies (health, life, homeowners, etc), legal documents (will, estate plan, power of attorneys), daily needs (medications, meals, appointments, transportation), finances (accounts advisors, bills, social security, beneficiaries, investments), and, most importantly, living arrangements. Are there changes that need to be made to the house? Is their current situation suitable? Making these plans isn’t going to be easy, but with a good plan and the proper support system for you, it is something that has to happen to ensure the well-being of your aging senior.

Every Role is Important

You do not have to take this responsibility on alone. In fact, you should look for outside help and support so that your loved one is taken care of in a positive manner, and your own well-being is sufficiently maintained. Look for individuals who can take on certain roles that you know you are unable to, and if possible, take on caregivers who can help you coordinate and delegate what your loved one needs, both long-term and on a daily basis.

Know That We’re Always Here to Help

Have you recently noticed some of these changes in your loved one? Daughter For Hire is here for support no matter which step of the process you are currently in. We know the difficulties that you are facing, and can help you care for your aging loved one in the ways that they deserve. That’s our mission. You can’t do it alone–we can lend a helping hand. For more information about how we can help or to set up a free consultation, please call our office serving the Mohawk Valley at 315-725-2955 or our Capital District office at 518-415-2059.

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