If you are not already, you may someday find yourself taking care of your aging parents. It is not an easy task by any means, but one that is necessary in order to ensure their quality of life remains intact---especially if they become disabled. As primary caregivers for our parents, my husband and I have gone through a crash course on the subject.
I'd like to offer some tips on elderly care:
If you are not in a position to take care of your parents, make sure you do as much research as you can on nursing homes/assisted living facilities. They are NOT all the same.
Stay on top of your parent's nursing home and medical care. Visit as often as you can to let staff know you care about what's going on. Sadly, many elderly are "dumped" into nursing homes by family members, who rarely come back to visit them.
Know what medicines are being prescribed. If you don't know what they're for, ASK.
Know the medicare and medicaid laws as it relates to your state. What we discovered is some laws are different from state-to-state. This is especially important to know if you must transport your loved one to a different state.
Don't be afraid to challenge the system. When my mother-in-law sustained some bruises that no one could explain, we filed a grievance with the County Social Services and then the State. As a result, one nurse was fired---another resigned and my mother-in-law was watched much more closely. Of course, we weren't the most liked family after that but you do what you have to do in order to protect your loved one and ensure their safety and well being.
Know your parent's history. I think this is especially important if you're loved one has dementia because they won't be in a position to answer for themselves. When my husband tranferred his mom from one facility to another, he was asked a lot of questions about her and her family history. Some of it he knew--some he didn't.
Keep a journal. Don't count on your memory to remind you of things. Write it down and you'll know for sure and be sure to always get names of people involved in your parent's care.
If you have anything else to add, please feel free to do so.