Steps for giving older parents the care they need


September 10, 2010

Dr Eva Mor, the author of Making Your Golden Years Golden, recently listed some of the steps that adult children may want to take when caring for their parents. Her advice can be found on

According to Mor, children should be aware of when their parents are experiencing a physical or mental decline and require extra care. Signs that an aging parent may be suffering include self-neglect, confusion or a significant loss of weight.

Additionally, try to help a parent legally plan for scenarios in the coming years, particularly regarding the Power of Attorney, Living Will and Health Proxy. Health proxies are important for healthcare providers, so be sure that the neighbors is in close proximity to the senior.

According to Mor, a high number of senior citizens were victims of scams that totaled more than $20 billion in 2009. Talk with parents about hanging up the phone during suspicious marketing calls and what internet websites to avoid, and remind them to never give out sensitive, personal information to strangers.

Medications should also be kept updated and organized. Doctors and specialists will need to know what pills the parent is taking, because an improper mix of medications can lead to serious side effects.

Mor also recommends that children help parents make their home a safe place to live. She claims that 78 percent of all injuries to senior citizens occur in their homes, many of which are due to falls.

It may also be a good idea to suggest that a parent attend a fall prevention program, which can help raise awareness about proper safety measures and habits that should be practiced at home.

Emergency contacts are essential for any senior who is aging at home. The phone numbers of caretakers, friends, family and local hospitals should all be listed in in an easy-to-reach place. A parent’s physician and anyone else familiar with his or her health should also be listed.

Consider creating an additional list of important information so that seniors can easily access the details of personal Medicare, Social Security, bank accounts and other insurance policies.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality states that approximately 79 percent of seniors are living on their own. To make sure that parents are safe and can live independently, children may want to consider using a senior alert system, which allows older adults to alert neighbors or medical professionals in the case of an unexpected injury.

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