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4 Ways to be a Helpful Advocate for Your Aging Parents Health

By Chelsea Lamb

As you grow further into adulthood, you take on more responsibilities and begin having children or grandchildren of your own. By the time you reach age 40 and beyond, you might have so much on your plate that you neglect to think about the unique needs of your aging parent. Elderly individuals often face unfamiliar health concerns that they are not equipped to confront alone. There are a number of online resources you can utilize to understand your role as an adult child looking to support an aging parent. Once you know how you can help your parent, you will become a capable advocate for their health.

1. Participate in a Healthier Lifestyle

It is easy for elderly individuals to adopt a sedentary lifestyle, in part because they might not have someone encouraging them to be active. Health experts recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate activity for older adults. Muscle strengthening and balance exercises can also be beneficial for seniors in moderation.

Spend time each week with your aging parent, go for walks, and cook healthy meals for them if their diet needs some work too. This will encourage the senior in your life to live a healthier lifestyle and provide some social interaction that they might be lacking otherwise.

2. Help Manage Healthcare Documents

If your parent has impairments to their vision or mobility, it can be an arduous task to manage stacks of healthcare documents. You can help by organizing these pages into well-labeled folders and checking them over for critical errors.

Another way to take a weight off your parent's shoulders is by making sure forms are submitted to healthcare providers in a timely manner. This ensures that they will receive the care they need quickly and efficiently. When sending relevant documents back and forth with a medical specialist, consider using a PDF tool to combine many pages into one convenient file. Then, by adding pages to your PDF, you can expand the document's contents.

3. Go Along When Visiting Healthcare Professionals

No one particularly likes going to the doctor, but for your aging parent, it might be a truly overwhelming ordeal. Healthcare professionals might assail your elderly loved one with a variety of medical terms and procedures that they do not understand. You can go along with your parent to help ease the process along and to pose the important questions that your parent might not think to ask.

Another important reason to accompany your parent on healthcare visits is to watch out for examples of elder fraud. While it might not be common, it is a reality that some malicious individuals in the healthcare space might try to take advantage of elderly individuals who are less likely to notice intentional billing errors.

4. Discuss Assisted Living Options

Should you determine that your parent has a serious health issue that requires round-the-clock care, you might have a difficult discussion ahead of you. It could be that the only way your loved one will get the care they truly need is by moving to a senior living facility. When looking for the right nursing home, be sure to read detailed facility reports, check reviews from current residents and their families, and take your family's budget into consideration as well.

Every individual is unique, and so is their health situation. There are any number of reasons why your aging parent might struggle to handle their emerging health concerns alone, but the fact is that you can be a caring and gentle advocate in their path to a healthier and more comfortable life.

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