Caring for the Sick Elderly When They No Longer Can Do It on Their Own
Although in recent years, the American population has become more aware of the health dangers of asbestos, as more and more medical records have been able to point to the exposure to the mineral as the definite cause of various cancerous illnesses, the fact that asbestos-related diseases presently have no cure and take a long time to show any signs of development brings the focus to the part of society that had very much interacted with the substance when its use on American grounds was at its peak, roughly from the 1930s until the early 1970s, i.e. the seniors.
The inevitability of the encounter has a rather simple explanation, in the mentioned time period, asbestos was in high demand, and as a result, it took over mining, textiles, and construction, which constituted the top employment opportunities of those days. Thus, generation after generation faced exposure to a toxic environment while trying to earn a living, and since diagnosis for a disease caused by asbestos exposure generally comes decades after the exposure had occurred, it is usually the case that the verdict will be heard by the elderly and their loved ones.
For one to find out that they are suffering from an incurable disease is quite life-changing news but in order to manage the circumstances in the best possible ways, it is important to make speedy decisions about the most convenient manner of handling the current reality. New medical advances have allowed patients affected by asbestos illnesses to exceed the initial predictions made by their physicians in regard to their life expectancy. However, the fact remains that dealing with such diseases can heavily burden the individual’s way of living and that of their families. An incurable disease, in addition to drawbacks brought about by old age, has the potential of negatively impacting not only the patient but all those that care about them.
Have an Honest and Open Conversation
When one begins to question whether a loved one is capable of taking care of themselves on their own any longer, any kind of emotional responses need to be acknowledged and kept in check, and the priority should be that of thinking of long-term solutions that will bring resolution to all the parties involved. If your loved one has trouble with feeding themselves, with managing medications, or using the bathroom, the option of offering them the safety of a senior home should be taken into consideration.
There are professionals that have the experience and resources to deal with the concerns brought by old age and diseases and it would be beneficial to have an open conversation about the various possibilities of facilitating care for the senior in question. The most vital part, perhaps, would be for everyone to have a thorough understanding of the consequences for each of the scenarios considered while keeping in mind that the goal is to make sure the safety and comfort of all are being arranged.
Spotting Behaviors that Reveal an Inability to Care for Oneself
There would be a few behaviors that would point toward the inability of a person to care for themselves on their own, but it would be essential to have the individual admit that they indeed have a problem in order for them to be open to receiving help. Arguably, it is more often the case that those suffering from demanding diseases accept that they are in need of assistance, as opposed to seniors who would only have to handle the inconveniences of old age, as the management of their lifestyle becomes vital for their staying alive.
Among the most common signs revealing that a sick elderly person has to be helped during their day-to-day activities are the following:
- personal hygiene neglect
- living spaces neglect
- difficulty in moving around the house
- inability to follow a diet plan
- inability to budget
- tendency to isolate
The causes for these behaviors vary from a situation to another, but more often than not they represent the hardships of old age. Forgetfulness might be fairly inconsequential when skipping a meal, but when someone suffering from some form of a cancerous tumor, as most asbestos patients do, forgets to follow medical plans, their health status can rapidly deteriorate and lead to death. Additionally, even if they would manage to strictly follow the nutrition regimes and prescriptions, diseases might, seemingly out of the blue, worsen at any given time and with no one around them, the elder individual might be totally helpless in a possibly life and death situation.
It is of utmost importance for elderly people that battle a burdensome sickness to be offered the reassurance they need in order to make the most out of their personal struggles. In this sense, their immediate environment needs to be accommodating to their needs for their form to do well. Being given the chance of socializing with others that have relatable issues is a gratifying bonus.
About the author
Gregory A. Cade is an attorney specialized in environmental and asbestos law. Throughout his career, he and his team processed more than 200,000 claims and recovered more than $1,4 billion for asbestos victims.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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