Even though autism spectrum disorder is a relatively common condition, doctors still know very little about it. The lack of information makes it difficult for caregivers to help their aging loved ones enjoy long and fulfilling lives.
If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elderly care, Chandler Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age. Here is a closer look at a few of the most challenging symptoms of autism and how you can help your loved one manage those issues.
What Doctors Know About ASD
For many years, doctors believed autism was a single disorder that affected everyone in a slightly different manner. Doctors now know there are many different types of autism, and this condition can produce extremely mild symptoms or completely debilitate an individual. Some autistic people have moderate cognitive impairment while others are unable to pick up on nonverbal social cues. Many people don’t realize autistic adults can be perfectly healthy and productive members of society and their disorder may barely impact their daily habits.
Aging with Autism
Autistic seniors are often able to come up with a myriad of tools and skills to help them manage their condition. This might include creating a strict daily routine or living with a spouse who can help them with activities they find difficult. However, as these individuals grow older, some of their skills can be put in jeopardy. Their condition can be further complicated if they are diagnosed with any additional disorders or health conditions. When these situations begin to develop, it can be very difficult for their caregivers as well.
Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Chandler families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home.
Another major concern for autistic seniors is their increased risk of emotional health disorders. One study conducted by Kaiser Permanente researchers found that nearly half of all autistic seniors experience depression or anxiety. Even more heartbreaking is the fact that autistic seniors are five times more likely to commit suicide. These are just a few of the reasons why seniors and their caregivers should work with experienced emotional health specialists. Failing to address these emotional issues can be devastating for all parties involved. Seniors diagnosed with autism should regularly meet with a counselor or therapist who can help them work through their thoughts and emotions.
Helping Seniors with Autism
Many autistic seniors can benefit from a having a strict routine and familiar caregiver. Changing homes and caregivers may unnerve them, and it can take years before they are comfortable in their new surroundings. It is also important to make sure they are socially stimulated. Autistic seniors have social needs similar to other adults, and isolation can worsen their disorder. Most of them enjoy interacting with a few select friends and family members in a quiet setting. Louder events with large crowds often confuse or scare them.
Autism is one of the many health conditions seniors are susceptible to. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Chandler seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. If your senior loved one needs professional in-home care, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (480) 448-6215 today.