Caring for an elderly relative or loved one is no easy task. Whether you’re doing it right now, preparing yourself for it for the future, or wondering what it will be like as you go through it yourself, the more you learn, the better equipped you’ll be.
Staying healthy as an elderly adult isn’t just about doctor’s visits and medication. There is so much more to providing care for aging adults to allow them to live comfortably and independently. Take a look at the tips below.
1. Care at Home
The best place for your elderly relative to be cared for is at home. An elderly person will often feel far more comfortable at home, around their belongings, and with a sense of control over their own life.
This may mean having to look into home carers who can come and do chores, like cleaning, cooking, and laundry. You may need to get together with other relatives to pay for this service or your elderly relative may be entitled to some form of financial help.
2. Co-ordinate Care
Taking care of an aging adult can be difficult, demanding, and tiring. If you can share the work with other family members it will be a big weight off your shoulders. Coordinating meals, personal care, and doctor visits should be at the top of the priority list.
Rather than handing out specific roles, it may be better to divide the week into days and put people on a rota.
3. Talk to Your Loved One
Although your loved one will know it’s necessary to receive help, it’s also important they remain independent. That will mean involving them in the decision process, rather than taking everything out of their hands entirely.
An elderly person who feels they have no say in their own life can easily become withdrawn and depressed. Ask questions and try to abide by their wishes as frequently as you can.
4. Encourage Socializing
Elderly people are often at risk of feeling isolated if they don’t have the opportunity to get out. Try and include your loved ones in as many family activities as possible and encourage them to join groups in the community.
There are often groups set up for aging relatives, like tea dances or bingo. It’s a great opportunity to meet people of a similar age and share experiences.
5. Stay Abreast of Technology
Technology can be a real lifeline for the elderly. If your elderly relative is taught how to accept a FaceTime call, it means he’ll be able to connect with family and friends at the touch of a button. After 2020, we all know how important that is.
There are also lots of gadgets that could keep your loved one safe while you’re not there. A room monitor for elderly people will ensure you know if something strange is happening. It can learn your loved one’s movements throughout the day and tell you if something doesn’t seem right.
6. Look at Insurance
It’s a good idea to look at insurance options and see which fits best for you. The cost of care for an elderly person isn’t cheap, so it’s vital to have a plan in place. Many insurance companies offer a long-term plan of care that’s ideal for the elderly and people planning for their retirement.
7. Care for the Carers
You can’t care for someone else if you’re running on empty. Fortunately, there are tons of resources out there for carers. It can be a hugely stressful job to take care of older adults, even if you share the burden.
Resources often include online forums to connect carers with other carers and share experiences. You may also get the opportunity to spend time away from your loved one and revitalize your energy by doing something relaxing and rejuvenating.
8. Communication Is Key
There may be some tough conversations you’ll need to bring up with your loved one. No one enjoys these kinds of conversations, especially if you need to have it with an aging mom or aging dad. You may need to talk about an end-of-life plan and your loved one’s wishes when they pass away.
Does your loved one want to enter the hospital? Would they prefer to be buried or cremated? Finding out your loved one’s preferences will make the inevitable much easier when it does happen.
9. Keep Learning
Just like anything else, caring for an elderly person takes practice and education. It’s important to keep yourself up to date on the latest innovations and practices for elderly care. Your local government will be able to give you information on the best practices and how to implement them in your loved one’s home.
There are also lots of online resources you can use to read the material in your own time and come to your conclusions. When you find things that make sense for your situation, you may want to share them with your loved one too.
10. Change the Environment
Making simple changes to your loved one’s environment could make all the difference to their independence. Installing simple handrails could help your relative to get around easier and remain stable to avoid falls. Similarly, motion sensor stair lights could provide the light needed to visit the toilet in the middle of the night without your relative having to search for a switch.
Caring for Aging Adults
Caring for aging adults is a big change for both the relative and the carer. It’s a challenge and a privilege at the same time.
If you’re lucky enough to still have your loved one with you, you’ll appreciate every moment but that doesn’t mean the job of carer won’t affect you. Look after yourself so you can look after others.
Take a look at more of our articles for great tips.