Don't Let Your Elderly Parents Check Out On Checkups! Routine Healthcare Is Important For Their Health
When you were a child, your parents were responsible for taking you for regular checkups with your doctors, dentists and optometrists. Now, the tables are turned. Perhaps, you've noticed that when you visit your elderly parents, they don't appear to be taking care of themselves. Sadly, there are a number of reasons why your elderly parents may not be taking care of themselves, including:
- Lack of transportation. If your parents can no longer drive themselves, they may find it difficult to get to medical appointments. And some elderly people have so many medical and dental appointments, they stop making ones they consider non-essential, such as checkups. Unfortunately, not going for routine medical and dental checkups can lead to more trouble in the future.
- Mental illness. When you visit your parents, have you noticed that they appear to have stopped bathing, brushing their teeth or that they are wearing soiled clothing? These could be signs that your elderly parents may be developing a mental illness, such as dementia.
- Financial reasons. It's possible that your elderly parents are pinching pennies and have decided that they don't want to pay for routine healthcare.
Helping Your Parents Out
According to Time, there are approximately seven million people -- like you -- that are trying to help their parents deal with their healthcare problems from a long distance away. The following are a few ways you can help your parents out:
- Visit your parents on a regular basis. If you have siblings, you can set up a schedule with them so that someone visits with your parents at least several times a year. Your visits will need to be lengthy enough so that you can take your parents to various checkups.
- Set up appointments for dental and medical checkups before your trip, whenever possible.
- Find alternative transportation options. If your parents can no longer drive themselves, consider finding a reliable taxi service or even a neighbor that you can pay to drive them to appointments when you are not in town.
Appointments Your Senior Will Need
Unfortunately, health problems -- such as arthritis -- can make it difficult for your elderly parents to practice good oral hygiene, which could lead to serious problems. That is why your parents need to have regular cleanings as well as dental checkups, which could possibly detect:
- Gum disease. If left untreated, this disease could destroy your gums and could cause you to lose your teeth. Studies have also shown that there is a link between gum disease and heart disease -- another reason why regular dental cleanings are important for the elderly.
- Mouth cancer. Because the average age of a person diagnosed with this condition is 62 years, your elderly parents need to have their mouths checked for oral cancers on a regular basis. Fortunately, most general dentistry professionals do screen for cancers during annual checkups.
As your parents age, they may develop certain eye diseases that could damage their vision. It is especially important to have your parents see an optometrist on a regular basis if they are still driving. This is for their safety as well as for that of everyone else on the road. The following are two eye disorders that your parent's optometrist may be able to detect and treat:
- Age-related macular degeneration. This condition damages the macula, which is located near the middle of the retina. Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss for people over the age of 50.
- Glaucoma. This condition damages the optic nerve, which could cause your parents to lose their vision.
Yes, it is difficult to fit the needs of your parents into your busy life, but just remember all that they did for you when you were growing up.