Advice on Caring for Elderly Family Members
Many people eventually have to start taking care of elderly family members. When that time arrives for your family, you want to make sure that the older adult is treated with respect, love, and patience. While the change may be challenging for you, remember that your loved one may find it challenging to rely on you or others for their care. It would be advantageous to learn several methods for providing the finest care possible.
How to Care for an Elderly Family Member
There are several strategies to ensure the safety and well-being of the older adult in your life. Even while it could initially seem daunting, providing additional care can make you both feel more connected throughout this later period of life.-
1. Regular Visits
Your loved one needs to engage with you on a social level. Additionally, visiting them gives you the confidence that they are secure, healthy, and in good health. While you are there, it is crucial to walk about their home to check for any issues that need to be rectified. For instance, you would want to go over the house's general cleanliness or see if anything needs to be fixed if it is damaged. Check their plants, laundry, mail, and food supplies on a regular basis as well.
2. Verify Medication
Make certain that your loved one has enough medicine on hand. All of their medications must be filled and updated as necessary. It is preferable to get a pill box organizer with sections labeled with the days of the week as well as AM and PM dosages if they are taking many medications. As a result, taking their medications may be simpler. Ask the doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects or probable interactions with other drugs if a new prescription is recommended.
3. Get Assistance
A helper, assistant, or another kind of older adult caregiver may be required. This may be a someone who assists your loved one with daily tasks like housework, doing errands, or taking a shower. Always verify references or use a professional agency if the person is not someone you directly know. Depending on the resources available, this may be a service that is offered for free or at a low cost, or it might be a price that is already included in your household budget.
4. Make changes to your home
When caring for older individuals, it is essential to thoroughly inspect the house and determine what could be a safety threat. While some changes could be straightforward, others might need more work. These may consist of:
- Make sure the house's general lighting is bright enough by inspecting it.
Constructing an elevated toilet.
- Putting up a ramp for walkers or wheelchairs.
- Placing grab bars and handrails in the shower and toilet.
- Installing a few auto-sensor nightlights throughout the house will allow them to monitor any nighttime awakenings.
- Removing obstruction-causing furniture and excessive debris from the area.
- Removing tiny carpets or those with raised edges that can trip someone up or grab on walkers or canes.
It's possible that an older adult loved one won't feel at ease or be eager to discuss their money. However, if they have a restricted income or a budget that must be adhered to, you should try to have open discussions about their financial needs and expenditures.
6. Organize your paperwork
While you are attending to an aging relative's immediate needs, you might also want to make sure that you are set up for the future. Verify that all of their required documentation is in order and up to date. Discussing their will or choosing a power of attorney are two examples of how to do this. These discussions might be difficult, but they are necessary to make sure that your loved one is ready. You both will feel relieved after the work is finished.
7. Observe Any Driving Issues
Due to changes in their eyesight or reaction times, your loved one can eventually lose the ability to drive. It is essential to assess their driving skills and, if a problem emerges, to offer alternative, maybe helpful options. For instance, you can think about getting a driver or employing a grocery delivery service.
8. Keep them engaged
It's crucial to keep seniors engaged and active. Exercise is important for the health of elderly family members and can even reduce their risk of falling. Sadly, it is not unusual for older individuals to feel alone, sad, or even depressed, especially if they have just lost a spouse. It is crucial that they continue to interact with their loved ones and friends, or perhaps go out and meet some new people. Your neighborhood may have services that offer events that will keep your loved one socially and physically engaged.
9. Provide wholesome food
It's possible that your loved one lacks the skills or motivation to prepare meals on their own. They need to be properly fed in order to be healthy. Make a few meals in advance even if your schedule prohibits you from cooking frequently. Moreover, depending on their circumstances, your loved one could be eligible for supported meal programs like Meals on Wheels or opt to sign up for a different delivery meal plan. Even specialized needs, such meals for those with diabetes, can sometimes be accommodated by some of these meal plans.
- Utilize technology
There are several methods to make the most of technology when caring for aging family members. To keep an eye on them while you're away, you may, for instance, add a motion detector or camera. A video system may assist in keeping you informed about falls, how much movement there is, and other crucial information. Additionally, there are methods that your elderly loved one may utilize to notify you if something is wrong. One choice is a Life Alert system, which has a button your loved one may touch to summon emergency assistance. You'll need to convince your loved one to wear the gadget all the time in case an accident occurs in order to use it.
11. Establish a Schedule
To help your senior loved one with bathing, medical appointments, errands, shopping, cooking, and other duties, it is advisable to try to establish a schedule with other family members. You might need to hire someone to help with some of those duties so that you and other family members can take a break from the constant demands of their schedule. Your loved one will be able to understand what is on your agenda when you follow a timetable since it will help you keep your life controlled and organized.
- Use Resources That Are Available
There are several resources available to the elderly. It may be possible to get assistance from the government or the community in the form of food stipends, exercise equipment, or transportation to medical appointments. Different countries, like Arizona, for example, do have long-term care systems like ALTCS. Do some research to find out what your loved one qualifies for and how it may benefit them. What is provided could astound you.
Self-care is important.
You must take care of your own physical and emotional needs before you can look after anybody else. It has been shown that those who are caring for older family members suffer from greater levels of stress, worry, and sadness. Divide the tasks amongst you, your spouse, other family members, and anybody else you trust and who is willing to help, if at all feasible.
It's critical to remember to take breaks, travel sometimes, and generally enjoy life. Even if the older adult in your life can feel as like they are depending on you, you must equally look out for yourself and take care of your own needs.