If you have taken on the responsibility of helping an older relative, it’s important that you prepare yourself, now, for an increasing amount of dependence on your assistance. Your loved ones will go through significant changes as they age, and those changes will likely mean that they will rely on you more often to provide more help with a growing number of everyday tasks.
Especially when it comes to health issues.
While outwardly they aren’t showing signs of slowing down, they may be going through more complex and intricate changes inside at the same time. The body gradually slows down, internal rhythms are interrupted, and illnesses or other chronic conditions become more common.
Once diagnosed, many of the most common illnesses and diseases are closely monitored by your loved ones physicians, medications are prescribed, and courses of treatment are laid out. Sometimes, though, these necessitate care, either at home or in a skilled nursing facility.
Assisted Care for Common Illnesses and Diseases
Illness and disease takes on many forms, and for those over the age of 65, they do become more frequent and many times, more severe.
While you can’t predict exactly which health problems your loved one will struggle with, there are some issues that are particularly common among seniors that you may expect to see develop within the next few years.
This is an inability to stop urine from leaking out of the urethra. This can also be a rectal issue. The care needed depends on the severity of the problem, but is something that will need to be addressed both at home and by skilled nursing professionals.
The swelling and degradation of joints can be a painful, debilitating process. Though you can help your loved one manage their condition with exercise and pain medications, more assisted care becomes necessary as worsening arthritis keeps them from normal, everyday activities.
These can range widely in severity and frequency, and often times require more than just medications. Chronic heart disease and serious cardiovascular issues can lead to complications that necessitate surgeries that have protracted recovery periods. Whether your loved one spends that time at home or in assisted care, they will require regular care and attention.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Degenerative brain diseases are disruptive and insidious, often taking a significant amount of time to fully develop. Although some treatments may slow the progression of cognitive impairment, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia. Your loved one will likely reach a point in the future where professional care is necessary.
Sight, hearing, and breathing problems.
Sensory impairment varies in severity and complexity, but it can usually be treated easily enough at home. However, some problems can become severe enough to warrant assisted care, so keep a close eye on the problem to make sure that a simple impairment doesn’t transform into a serious medical issue.
Cancer or other serious illness.
Unfortunately, cancer has become common enough to warrant serious consideration and require skilled nursing care of some kind. Whether your loved ones receive care from an assisted living facility, a specialty hospital, or home health professionals, it’s important to know exactly what your loved ones need to enjoy the highest quality of life that their condition will allow.
It’s impossible to know exactly what you will need for your loved ones when the time comes, and it’s certainly something that’s not easy to think about.
But planning ahead now can help lessen the stress of dealing with an elderly family member’s worsening health in the future. Understanding the health issues, illness, or disease is the first step to knowing what your loved ones need to live the best life possible.