As your parents’ age, you may notice changes in their health, habits, and lifestyle. While these can be difficult to accept at first, it’s important to understand that these changes are a normal part of aging and should be treated with compassion and patience. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of common changes that often occur as our parents’ age, so that you can better prepare for the future. Knowing what to expect ahead of time, will help you have realistic expectations and offer the support they need.
1. Changes in Health
As your parents’ age, they may experience more frequent visits to the doctor or hospital due to increased risk of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or arthritis. These health problems may also lead to mobility issues and a decrease in physical activity.
2. Changes in Memory
Your parents may experience difficulty with memory recall, such as forgetting names, dates, or appointments. They may also have difficulty concentrating for extended periods of time and suffer from confusion more often than when they were younger. Dr. David Zagzag has great information on this.
3. Changes in Eating Habits
As our parents age, their appetite changes too. They may no longer feel hungry as often, even if they are healthy overall. It’s important to make sure they are still getting the proper nutrition by providing them with nutrient-dense meals that are easier to digest than heavier dishes. Additionally, it is recommended to encourage healthy snacking when they don’t have a big appetite.
4. Changes in Sleep Patterns
Often, our parents experience more difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep as they age due to physical discomfort or a decrease in melatonin production. It’s important that their beds are comfortable and the environment is conducive to sleep like reducing noise and light pollution.
5. Changes in Social Behaviors
Your parents may become less engaged with family and friends, preferring to spend time alone rather than being social. While this can be difficult for you as an adult child, it’s important to understand that this is a natural behavior for older adults who may feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
6. Changes in Finances
Your parents may no longer be able to handle their finances as they did when they were younger due to decreased mental capacity and physical health. It’s important that you help them manage their money, such as paying bills on time or helping them with retirement planning.
7. Changes in Mobility
As your parents age, it’s common for them to experience a decrease in mobility due to aging joints and muscles or other underlying medical conditions. It’s important that you provide assistance where needed by installing safety features around the home or providing transportation for doctor’s visits and errands.
By recognizing these changes ahead of time, you can better prepare yourself and your family for the future while showing empathy and compassion towards your parents during this transitional period. With understanding and patience, you can help ensure that your parents get through these changes with dignity and grace.