One of the fundamental parts of caring for an older loved one is keeping them as healthy as possible. After all, you want them to live a long, comfortable life where they can thrive. However, seniors sometimes need extra help to effectively prioritize their health.
Exercise, nutrition, and mental health can all become much more complicated with age — not to mention the added difficulties of managing healthcare costs. Fortunately, there are resources available that can help seniors and their caregivers take a proactive approach to wellness. Here are a few ways you can help your older loved one thrive in their golden years.
Ensure a Safe Living Situation
Your first step as a caregiver needs to be an appraisal of your loved one’s living situation. As people get older, they’re sometimes unable to take full care of themselves. Memory, dexterity, and medical problems can make it difficult for a senior to live by themselves. If you’re worried that your loved one is in danger at home alone, it may be time to consider assisted living.
Independence can be a delicate topic, so approach this gently. Focus on the ways that assisted living boosts independence. When seniors are unable to care for themselves, they spend a lot of their time in discomfort or pain. Once they have the help they need, they’re given the freedom to dedicate their days to hobbies and spending time with friends and family.
If you decide to pursue assisted living, research your options to find the place that fits your loved one’s needs and budget. There are plenty of facilities to choose from in Indianapolis that offer different amenities and levels of care. Keep future needs in mind as well — facilities that offer graduated levels of care may be best for those with degenerative or chronic health problems. You should also factor the cost into your decision; for example, the average cost of assisted living in Indiana is around $49,200, though that number can change greatly depending on the type of facility and the amenities it offers.
Focus on Managing Costs
Health care costs can quickly become overwhelming for older people, so it’s important to ensure they’re well managed. If your loved one is on Medicare, expanding needs may call for more coverage. Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP), which runs from October 15to December 7, is the period in which you can make changes to Medicare coverage if it’s needed. During the AEP, remember to have important documents (e.g., medical bills and receipts, list of prescription medications, list of doctors, etc.) ready in case you need them
If you’re unsure whether you should upgrade your loved one’s coverage, consult a doctor or Medicare-focused Social Security representative. They can help you and your loved one make sense of the options and figure out what parts of Medicare make the most sense for them.
Keep Them Active
Staying active can be difficult at any age, but it definitely gets harder as you get older. Make sure your senior loved one gets at least thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day. One of the best ways to do this is to be active with them. Invite them out for walks in the park, or join them for a group exercise class. By participating alongside them, you provide extra incentive and know they’re getting the exercise they need.
If they have health issues that make exercise difficult, consult their doctor for ideas of safe movements in which they can partake. Water aerobics is a good option for many seniors, especially those struggling with joint problems. Water reduces pressure on joints while providing gentle resistance, making it an ideal exercise environment for people of any age.
Make Nutrition a Priority
Finally, so much of health can be traced back to a balanced diet. So, make sure your loved one is getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need. Remember, our nutritional needs change with age — what’s right for you may not be right for them.
Older loved ones can need a little help to stay healthy, but getting them the necessary resources can make a world of difference in their lives. With a little bit of help and guidance, your senior loved one can thrive.
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Article provided by guest blogger: Karen Weeks from ElderWellness.net