Addressing Health Concerns of Aging Parents

March 17, 2020

Getting older isn’t always fun, especially when it comes to health concerns. Sometimes it feels as though the body is just giving up entirely, and can be hard to talk about. When it comes to aging parents, it might be difficult for parents to tell their adult children their health concerns. There’s a sense of pride that people can continue doing the same things they did thirty years ago, and it’s uncomfortable to admit they might not be able to. 

So, how do you help your parents without feeling like you’re overstepping your boundaries? 

Recognize they may want help
As a kid you might have done cartwheels for hours, but as an adult, you probably would be sore after two. Would you want to admit it though? Probably not. Now, think about that from your mom or dad’s perspective except instead of cartwheels, think about going up a flight of stairs or sitting comfortably in the passenger seat of a car. Just because they don’t directly ask for help doesn’t mean they want to be in pain. Offer assistance without being overly pushy. One way to do this is to mention a recent issue you’ve experienced to see if they’ll open up.

Take note when you visit of how your parents might behave differently. 
Did you know that osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, affects 10% of men, and 21% of women over the age of 65? If you notice one of your parents is moving slower, or comments on hip pain, address the concern directly. If they’re reluctant to try medication for hip pain, for example, there’s an option on the market, AposTherapy, which is non-invasive and can help reduce osteoarthritis pain in the hip. If you’re interested in looking into it, you can check it out here:

Notice if your parents are slower respond when you’re having a conversation. Because many health problems don’t show up overnight, they might not have even noticed if their hearing has begun to diminish. Hearing loss, specifically Presbycusis, is a common issue associated with age. If your mom or dad is saying “what” more often, turning up the television volume repeatedly, or simply not responding as much, consider bringing up scheduling a hearing test. Take note if your parents have started to buy larger print books, sit closer to the television, or have trouble driving which can often be attributed to change in vision. According to a study by the CDC, in 2014 2.8 million people over the age of 65 suffered from severe vision impairment.  

Be as open as you can
While your intentions are to help your aging parents, it can feel like they’re relinquishing their parent power.  After all, for years, your parents were the ones taking care of you. Seeing the tables turned can feel foreign. Be patient with your parents.  Encourage them to be open with you, and remind them that their health affects yours. Inquire if their parents suffered from any specific health concerns or diseases. Be cautious to not point fingers though, and continue to support them as they work through their health issues.

*contributed post*

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