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Your Elderly Parents: Is Living Alone the Answer?

There's no place like home2

According to a census report in April of 2010, there are over 40 million people age 65 and older currently living in the United States. This demographic is larger today than at any previous time in the nation’s history thanks to advancements in medicine, higher quality of life, and vastly improved health awareness.

However, as many seniors grow older, they will contend with multiple health problems, increasing their need for specialized services. At some point, many families must make a tough decision about how to ensure that their elderly parents have proper daily care.

Living Alone

In some cases, it’s possible for an elderly person to go on living independently. As long as he or she is capable of managing their basic needs, this can work; but it’s helpful if you or another relative live in the neighborhood and can stop in every day or two just to check in. If your parent can’t drive because of impaired vision or other health issues, you may need to take care of things like weekly grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and other errands as well.

Home Care Services

People often employ on-site home care services so there will be someone to look after their elderly parents when they are not around. Whether your parent will live in your home or remain at their own house, in-home services can provide a tremendously helpful lifeline. Home care services usually include assistance with bathing, preparing meals, and in some cases, administering medicines. Some in-home services are also designed to temporarily help rehabilitate a patient after undergoing a major health event, such as a heart attack, stroke, or surgery.

Living With Family

If your parent needs closer supervision, and you are either retired or are able to work from home, it may be more practical for you to care for them on your own. This is an especially good idea for seniors who need some help with certain tasks, but are generally still independent. If your elderly mother has a serious medical problem that interferes with daily life, such as dementia, you may still require additional support.

Assisted-Living Facilities

One option for seniors who need consistent help is an assisted-living facility. These facilities offer a combination of comfortable housing, meals, health care, and community. Different facilities cater to different needs, so if your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other disorder, be sure to research whether the facility you’re considering specializes in your area of need.

Even if you are capable of providing a great deal of care on your own, the responsibility can often become an overwhelming burden–physically, financially, and emotionally. Your care for your aging father must not put your own health at risk. Select a residential option that is healthy for both of you.

Home care can give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your parent is properly cared for. And your parent’s contentment is assured because they can stay in safe familiar surroundings.  This arrangement can eliminate a lot of stress and help you make the most of the time the two of you have left together.

Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell hopes this article elucidates for adult children some lifestyle options available to elder parents. She urges them to consider home care as a viable choice that everyone can live with. Ultimately there really is no place like home.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/britishredcross/4398796876/

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I am a college student that is trying to stay physically fit and eat healthy. We all know how hard this is, so I am trying to post some tips, and get some discussions started so we can all learn from each other.

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