As your parents grow older, you may become more aware of the top health risks your aging parents face. Their health can quickly deteriorate, and in these situations, it’s vital that you understand what may be going on and identify their level of exposure to these risk factors. Knowing your parents’ individual needs will help you formulate the best possible care for them, whether that means an occasional visit from you or professional help.
Vision and Hearing Loss
The senses of older individuals can rapidly decline, drastically changing in just a few months. This loss of vision or hearing can mean difficulty engaging in tasks that were once simple, and in some circumstances, may even prove dangerous. For example, if they decide to go for a drive or a walk, they may not notice important road signs or incoming danger.
Take Your Parents for Regular Examinations
Considering how quickly hearing and vision can deteriorate, it’s important to be on top of your parents’ doctor visits. Take them for routine check-ups and update their prescriptions, whether that means new glasses or hearing aids.
The Flu and Pneumonia
Cases of the flu or pneumonia in younger individuals don’t pose much of a threat, but in seniors, these sicknesses can have significant consequences. As the body ages, the immune system weakens and internal organs become more susceptible to damage—the path to recovery can be far longer. Something as simple as the common cold could prove debilitating to your parents if they were to catch it.
Take Special Precautions During Flu Season
While you may be able to handle a runny nose, you might inadvertently infect one of your parents if you are not careful. Be extra careful not to spread anything when visiting your parents during flu season.
Decline in Cognitive Ability
One of the top health risks your aging parents face is a decline in cognitive ability. It is not uncommon for most older individuals to experience some form of memory loss or decrease in cognitive faculties. Still, you need to know whether your parents show signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Know How You Can Help
You need to know when you can help and when something is better left to medical professionals. It may be necessary to discuss options for lifestyle changes, whether that means a family member moving in with your parents or transitioning to an assisted living facility. Your parents may enjoy the benefits of at-home health services, including increased independence. Whatever you need to do, always include your parents in the conversation to voice their own wants and concerns.