Everybody gets old. Bodies get worn down and hair turns gray. It’s a natural way of life. But it doesn’t mean you have to let the debilitating effects of illness and aging consume you or your loved one. Watching a parent, grandparent, or spouse handle the illnesses that come with aging can be a difficult time. It’s not always clear how to handle situations or how to make them most comfortable in their last stages of life. Here are five ways coping with illness and aging in a loved one can be alleviated.
Share Your Feelings
We often assume that it is best to keep our emotions in check, out of worry of burdening others that are also experiencing sadness and despair. Creating a space where family members can share their concerns and questions will not only benefit you, but them as well. It’s easier to face your feelings upfront than let them fester and drive you crazy in your head. Share with people who really care about you and your well-being.
Get Out of the Comfort Zone
If your loved one is up to the task, take them on excursions. Whether it’s an activity they have always loved doing, or something entirely new, it will lighten their spirits and strengthen relationships. Take them to the movies, or a stroll around the park. Always include them in family events like band recitals and sports games. They may not be able to interact as much as they used to, but being with loved ones is satisfying enough.
Find a Good Home
As range of mobility decreases, so does the amount and gravity of tasks you can do. Nursing homes are well equipped to take care of your loved ones needs. With doctors, nurses, and physical therapists on hand, you can be confident that they are taken care of. Don’t settle on the first care home that you find. Do your research and ask around: this decision is important. According to the House Government Reform Committee, about 35% of elderly nursing homes do not treat the elderly with the respect and dignity they promise in nursing home regulations. If you suspect this to be the case with your family member, enlist the help of a lawyer. Bachus & Schanker Law suggests a detailed checklist you should ask staff members when considering a nursing home.
Don’t Force Anything
As your loved one ages, their memory and personality often fades. It can be a scary time not being remembered or handling their sudden mood changes and outbursts. Remember to give them the space they may need without completely disappearing from their life. Always keep their feelings and best interests at the heart of all your interactions. Pictures, songs, and old letters can trigger the mind and rejuvenate their spirits when they are down.
Coping with illness and aging in the family is not an easy process. Cherish the memories you have and spend their final days creating new ones. Plan ahead and always keep their best interests at heart in order to keep your relationship positive and healthy. With a little extra love and attentiveness, together you and your loved one can experience joy and happiness.
This post was written by Meghan Belnap a freelance writer from Oklahoma.
*Pictures from pixabay
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