You might be sitting there, wondering what could be so dangerous about aging. Don’t elderly folks just watch TV and crochet in their lazy chairs all day? The truth is that there are many aspects of life that make it dangerous for a person as they grow older. From physical to emotional to financial harm, there is so much that comes at a person as they age. If you have parents that are getting up there, they might need a little help and a little protection from you. The following are some ways that you can keep your parents safe in their old age.
- Monitor Their Health. Sudden changes in health are very common in elderly people. The bad news is that a lot of elderly folks don’t recognize that there is a problem. Have a conversation with your parent about attending their doctor appointments so that you can understand their health issues. Know what their prescriptions and other medications are and how often they should take them. Check up on them to be sure they are taking the right amount and that nobody else is taking advantage of their prescriptions. If you are going to get professional health care help for your parent, do your homework. Contact the Better Business Bureau, do a criminal background check, ask for licensing, etc. You can never be too careful when it comes to having a stranger in your parent’s home.
- Monitor Their Finances. Unfortunately, the elderly seem to get taken advantage of quite a bit when it comes to their finances. Regularly review their credit card activity and reports. Look over their bank statements. See if their checks have been written out with a different handwriting. Ask your parents to communicate with you about any large purchases that they make, or about any over-the-phone purchases that they want to make. Set up some rules and some boundaries so that they will have to check with you before making those large purchases.
- Monitor Their Relationships. There are people who will take advantage of them in other ways as well. If your parent is single, they could use poor judgment and end up in a relationship that could be potentially dangerous and abusive. Someone could become close to them so that they can drain the bank account or so that your parent will pay off their debt. Even family members might get extra close to your parent so that they can be the beneficiary in the will. Make an honest assessment of all relationships that your parent is in so that they do not get taken for a ride and emotionally hurt in the process.
- Monitor Their Emotions. Talk to your parents on a regular basis so that you have a good idea of how they are feeling emotionally. It might be hard for them to be dealing with all that they deal with as elderly folks. If they make suicidal comments, always take it seriously and contact their doctor for more information. If they are lonely, set up visits with family members to boost their spirits. If they want to be alone, let them be alone in a safe environment. Being in a good place emotionally could be one of the biggest things that gets them through their elderly years.
- Monitor Their Environment. Some elderly people have a hard time getting around as they get older. It could be time for you to change their environment a little bit. If there are too many obstacles in the house, they could fall and get hurt. Clean it up a bit, while making sure it is to their liking at the same time. Add a grab bar near the toilet and the shower. Put railings in the hallways. Make sure there is a phone in every room so that if they fall, they will have a better chance at getting help quicker. Is their eyesight failing? It might be time to have a discussion about driving the car.
These things are always hard to deal with. They are hard conversations to have. The good news is that with all the love you can muster, you can have these conversations and keep your parents safe as they try to stay independent through the aging process. It’s something that everyone will have to face someday, and by helping your parents through it, you can be better prepared for your own future.
Lauren Hill is a freelance writer, daughter, wife and mother who writes on every day topics that affect the lives of the people around her. She is a contributing author for Lift Caregiving, a free service for caregivers offering support, local resources and connections. Go here to see how they can help you in your caregiving situation.