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Baby Boomers' Aging Parents

Posted Oct 23 2008 6:21pm

Here are ten things adult children should keep in mind as they interact with their aging parents:

     1.  Over half of all people over 65 experience some hearing loss. Try speaking slightly louder tone (but don't shout) and in a lower pitch.

     2.  Older adults should have a complete eye exam every 1-2 years. 

     3.  More than one third of adults aged 65 years or older fall each year.  If balance or strength is fading, make sure your parents tell their doctor and, if necessary, get the right kind of cane, walker or wheelchair. 

     4.  Arthritis can be managed.  A doctor's treatment plan may include a combination of medication, weight management, range of motion exercises, and any number of methods to protect their joints from further damage. 

     5.  Changing patterns in eating or sleeping -- or a loss of interest in activities that once brought pleasure -- can be signs of depression. Be sure to have these symptoms evaluated by your parent's physician.

     6.  Older people may continue to be very sharp mentally, but may have less ability to hold a lot of information in their minds at one time.  For that reason it's a good idea to limit your statements to one idea at a time and to avoid jargon or technical terms.

     7.  Minor memory loss is normal.  If your parent is dealing with some memory loss, keep questions simple and avoid multiple choices.    

     8.  Alzheimer's disease or dementia both lead to a gradual decline in performing daily activities.  If this is the case, children can help develop a familiar routine for their loved one.

     9.   There are caregiver options.  Discuss with your parents and siblings your parents' caregiving needs.   

    10.  It is important to have physicians with whom your parents are comfortable with and trust. 

Source: Ten Tips for Baby Boomers on Interacting with Aging Parents, www.SeniorJournal.com

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