Categorised | Health & Lifestyle

Who’s Looking After Granddad?

You have fond memories of playing with your father as a child. Together, you shared moments and games, whether it was the weekly ride in the local woods or a ball game in the backyard. For most children, the father is the hero of their childhood. Then, as time passes, he becomes a confident, the one you call to tell him about your wedding plan. He’s the first excited to meet your first-born, his first grandchild. You didn’t know as a child how much your relationship would change, and you’re glad it has. The figure of authority is a wise equal who can advise and help when you need him. 

However, everything must change. And the dreaded day arises when time catches up with your father. His health is not what it used to be. He’s not often seen struggling with a cold and wrapped in a blanket when he watches TV. He’s not as strong anymore, and you can’t remember when was the last time he played with his grandchildren the way he used to play with you. More often than not, he tells you again about the old stories from the past as if he hadn’t done anything new in recent years.

In short, granddad is getting older. You may not be ready to accept it, but his age is transforming your relationship. You can’t rely on him anymore; you now need to worry about him. Who is looking after granddad, now that he’s old?

Defining whether they can be independent

As the healthcare system has improved greatly, it’s not uncommon to see many seniors blowing the candles of their 80th, 90th and sometimes even 100th birthday. Ultimately, there’s a breaking point in the physical and mental health of an individual. While some can happily go til 90 and remain independent, others need to get help to get along with their days. As your relative is becoming older, you have to accept that their health may not be as strong as it used to be. But it is a natural part of the aging process. So when can say for sure that granddad shouldn’t be living alone anymore? There are significant signs to consider. For instance, the safety of their home can play a significant role in your decision. A quaint little house with serpentine hallways and slippery staircases can put the health of an elderly person at risk. If you are worried about their safety, you might suggest relocating to a friendly nursery home. Someone with physical impairment such as severe sight loss, or with a potentially dangerous disease that requires constant monitoring should gain safety in losing their independence. 

Finding the right people to help

There are varying degrees of dependence. Mild cases can refer to an elderly person who needs a nurse to help once a day with washing and health monitoring, while they can get along with the rest of their day freely. If your relative is in this category, he might prefer to stay at home and receive medical visits instead of living in a specialist retirement home. Ultimately, when health conditions affect their mobility or even their cognitive abilities, it becomes essential to find a nursing home that suits their needs. You will find it helpful to visit different places and meet the staff members so that you can get a feeling of where your relative is going to spend their days. Ideally, you want a retirement centre with professional staff that is trained to administer medications and treatment, as well as provide dementia services. Indeed, dementia is, unfortunately, a common situation in old age. While it affects people in different ways, it’s fair to say that it’s not a natural part of the aging process. However, the longer you live, the higher the risk as the body is more likely to lose some of its mobility and cognitive functions with age.  

He’s not ready to give up on his independence

However, becoming a little forgetful or struggling with mild mobility issues is not an indication that your relative can’t keep their independence. On the contrary, with your help, they can continue to live at home and interact with their community – which can keep them more active and involved in everyday life. Teaching seniors how to use the Internet to pass orders or to get in touch can help them to remain independent even when they are not confident enough to drive to the shop or catch a train to visit the family. By staying at home, they retain their routine and their social life, which play a significant role in keeping healthy for longer. You can also suggest the addition of a monitoring camera so that you can react quickly in case of an accident.

Granddad doesn’t want anybody to look after him

Ultimately, your relationship is likely to be affected as your parent realises they are losing their independence. But you need to understand their feelings to provide the best support you can. For some, anger and fear can become a typical reaction for not being able to stick to their routine. Be patient, however frustrating the situation is. Remember that conflicts never solve anything. Instead, help them to deal with the loss of their independence by scheduling visits to their friends and listening to their fears.

Granddad is old, but that doesn’t mean he’s weak

Old age is never an excuse to become lazy and get out of shape. More and more gyms are providing senior-friendly facilities with dedicated classes that help them to stay strong without injuring themselves. Ultimately, while decline is a natural part of the aging process, it doesn’t mean that your relative can’t rebuild part of their strength and flexibility. In fact, you could even suggest visiting the gym together, not only as a way of bonding but also as a motivation. Staying active is by far the best way to staying healthy in old age, so before considering a nursery home, why not check the local gym senior discounts first?

Maintaining your relationship with your parents as they grow older is a tricky balancing act. But in the face of independence loss and cognitive degeneration, you need to learn to place their interests first. Helping them to maintain their social circle and to stay active and engage for longer can revive your bond.

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