Maybe your dad was the family jokester, always ready with a goof or prank sure to make everyone laugh – or groan. Perhaps he was the head of the table, there to carve the Thanksgiving turkey and make sure everyone got a good piece.
For many of us, our dads are role models, providers, and heroes. It can be tough to see the man who spent his whole life taking care of you start to need some help of his own.
Senior men experience some unique health and lifestyle challenges that can make it more difficult to age in place. In fact, studies have shown that nearly 70 percent of seniors are going to need long-term care at some point in their lives. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for long-term care out there, designed to help your dad get exactly the level of support he needs to live independently in the comfort and safety of home.
For many seniors, home care is going to be just the right fit. Home care is a flexible and affordable way to help your dad stay at home – giving him the freedom he craves, while giving you back time to focus on work, or raising your own family.
Health Challenges for Elderly Men
According to research presented by WebMD, wives tend to outlive their husbands by five years, on average. Throughout their lives, men are also less likely to go to the doctor than women – and more likely to be diagnosed with a serious condition when they do go.
Experts tend to believe that men are socialized to put productivity above all else – especially their health. Over the years, men often neglect their well-being, and continue living with unhealthy habits for decades on end. This can all cause men to experience some serious effects in their senior years, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease. According to data from the American Heart Association, more than one in three adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is historically the leading cause of hospitalization for men, and men make up the vast majority of patients for heart surgery.
- Prostate issues. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, with nearly 200,000 men in the US developing the disease each year. In fact, one in six men may develop prostate cancer at some point in their lifetimes. Men also frequently experience an enlarged prostate, which can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.
- Depression. Older men frequently report feeling socially isolated or lonely. Over time, loneliness, along with other factors, can cause older men to experience high depression and anxiety. Depression can often manifest itself as anger or aggression, and may lead to unhealthy behaviors, like excessive drinking or poor diet, which can cause further health problems.
- Cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. In addition to skin cancer, older men are susceptible to developing prostate cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, and other forms of this aggressive disease. Frequent screening is essential.
- Diabetes. Research has shown that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, and that many men display common risk factors for the condition, including poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
Reaching Out for Help
As a loving son or daughter, it can be stressful to see your dad start to change, sometimes rapidly. It’s easy to start to feel frustrated or helpless – and assume that you have to take on the responsibilities of caring for your aging dad all by yourself. Remember, there is no shame in asking for help. In fact, it may just be one of the most impactful and important things you’ll ever do, for your dad’s health and quality of life, and for your own.
For family caregivers considering reaching out to a home care provider or senior companion, it helps to know some of the most serious “yellow flags” to watch out for.
Is it time to start considering home care for your elderly dad? Here are a few important signs to consider:
- Changes in his appearance. Growing up, you got used to seeing your dad in uniform every day – whether that meant a suit-and-tie or his favorite work shirt. Now, your dad seems to be completely ignoring his appearance, wearing the same clothes again and again while ignoring his personal hygiene and grooming. If you notice significant changes to your loved one’s appearance, it may be a sign that they cannot take care of themselves as well as they used to. Look for rapid weight loss, unexplained bruises, and poor personal hygiene.
- Changes in his home environment. Are there piles of bills on the dining room table? Has your dad started to leave his beloved lawn and garden untended? Is the house dirty or cluttered? If your dad seems to be neglecting his household chores, it could be because housework is becoming too mentally or physically taxing, and it’s time to get some additional help.
- Changes in behavior or attitude. Has your once-outgoing father become withdrawn or isolated? Does he seem to be forgetting more things, or experiencing sudden mood swings or shifts in attitude? Changes like these could be a sign that it’s time to get help.
- Changes in activity levels. Does your dad seem to be staying away from cooking and cleaning? Is he becoming more sedentary? Does he seem to need a lot of support when walking around, or trying to hide aches and pains? If performing routine activities of daily living (ADLs) is becoming more difficult, a senior companion can be a great resource, helping your dad with moving about, bathing, grooming, and staying active.
- Changes in your needs as a caregiver. Remember to take your own health, well-being, and quality of life into account! As a family caregiver, it’s important to make time for yourself, in order to avoid common pitfalls like stress, burnout, anxiety, and illness. Know your limits. If you feel like you’re starting to overstretch yourself, or there’s no time in the day for family, friends, and work, don’t be afraid to ask for help – so you can get some respite and come back to caregiving with fresh eyes and renewed energy.
The Benefits of Home Care for Senior Men
If your dad is showing the signs that it’s time for long-term care, home care is an important option to keep at the top of your list. Flexible, affordable, and focused on helping your dad maintain his independence, home care is an effective way to allow your dad keep up his lifestyle in the comfort and safety of home, aided by the companionship and support of an experienced professional caregiver.
With home care – also sometimes called in-home care, respite care, or companion care – a professional caregiver is available on a flexible schedule, from as little as a few hours per week, to as much as 24 hours a day. Your senior companion will help tailor and implement a customized care plan, to help make sure that your senior loved one is able to get the support they need, while family caregivers get the chance to rest and recharge.
With home care, an experienced, professional caregiver can provide a variety of services, all tailored to your loved one’s wants and needs. Home care often includes:
- Driving services. A senior companion can help provide reliable, routine transportation, to help older adults run errands, attend social events, or keep up with doctor’s appointments and physical therapy sessions.
- Assistance with activities of daily living. A companion can help provide support with routine ADLs, like moving around, bathing, grooming, dressing, and attending to personal hygiene.
- Meal preparation. If cooking and eating are a challenge for your dad, a senior companion can help your loved one with every aspect of meal prep – from shopping, to cooking, to service, to clean-up.
- Housekeeping and laundry. A companion can provide assistance with chores and laundry, to ensure that your senior loved one is able to live in a safe and comfortable environment.
- Medication and exercise reminders. Seniors often juggle multiple medications, as well as exercise recommendations from doctors or physical therapists. While a caregiver is not a licensed healthcare provider, they can provide medicine and exercise reminders, and help give your dad some much-needed oversight and encouragement.
- Companionship and social support. Above all else, a senior companion is a friend and ally. For seniors, there are countless health and lifestyle benefits to regularly interacting with other people. A companion can be there for your senior loved one as a trusted friend and confidant – someone to share meals, swap stories, play games, or simply enjoy some quiet time together.
Have Any Questions? Companions for Seniors Is Here to Help
Home care is a way to ensure that senior men are able to get the support they need in the comfort of home. It is a proven way to help both aging men and women live more independently, build stronger relationships, and maintain their health and well-being.
This is a period full of important choices and difficult decisions. Companions for Seniors is here to help make things easier, however we can. We’re always happy to field any questions you may have, and help point you in the right direction.
Here at Companions for Seniors, our mission is to help seniors live independently and with dignity in the comfort of their own home, by empowering them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, connecting them with their community, and nurturing meaningful relationships. We believe in helping seniors maintain a higher quality of life, while providing respite and peace of mind for those family caregivers who could use some extra help.
We are locally owned in the Chicago area, with services available in the city and suburbs. Trained and bonded companions are available on a full- or part-time basis, and can offer driving services in the comfort of an insured company car, as well as assistance with ADLs, housekeeping, laundry, meal prep, and more.
Ready to get started? Curious about what sets us apart? Get in touch online or give us a call at 866-910-9020 to get the home care answers you’ve been searching for.