All people would eventually grow old and might not be capable of doing the things they’d usually do. Gone will be the days when the they could stay up all night to watch their favorite films and TV shows, or even work for eight hours a day to provide for the family. As a person grows old, they need to take all the time in the world to rest and allow their body to recover as any intense movement might cause injuries or lead to more serious health concerns.
As much as everyone wishes their aging loved ones to grow healthy and strong, they might need additional care, especially since their bodies can be weaker and more prone to illnesses. With that, you need to ensure that you fully care for your aging loved ones to allow their lives to be joyful and sick-free.
When caring for your aging loved ones, there are plenty of things that you can do. Such will allow you to provide for their needs, helping them maintain their wellbeing and maximizing the remaining years of their lives. Along with this, you can prevent any possible illness coming their way.
Moreover, listed below are the ways you can care for an aging loved one and what to expect from the whole process.
1. Consider A Nursing Home
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If your aging loved one would prefer to be around people their age as they would have a lot of things in common to talk about, or they’d like to mingle with new people, bringing them to a nursing home would be a great option. With this, not only will they be able to join and meet new people, improving their social skills, but they could also gain new experiences.
Inside a nursing home, the elderly would be doing plenty of things to keep them entertained during the day. They could go for morning walks, grow their mini garden, practice some golf, or play indoor games with other people. These activities would be ideal for keeping their bodies and minds working.
If you’re planning to put your elderly loved one in a nursing home, ensure that you look for the best one near your area. This will enable you to visit them quickly every weekend, especially if it’ll only be a short drive. Along with this, you should also check out the services they’re offering, as well as reviews about them to guarantee that your loved one will be getting the best care possible. You may check out and compare a number of nursing homes, like Home Nursing with Heart, to determine the most suitable choice for the family.
2. Understand That They Need Additional Support
An aging person might experience difficulty getting out of the bed, sitting on their recliner chair, going up and down the stairs, or even sitting on the toilet bowl. Thus, you might need to provide additional support by helping them move their body as they try to make themselves comfortable. Ideally, you should always try to be near them whenever they’re doing something to prevent accidents and injuries.
Apart from supporting your aging loved one personally, you should consider giving your home a makeover to help them move around more easily and conveniently. This would be a great idea if they still wish to be independent, as getting physical help from someone might feel weird for them. You can install handrails all over the walls to guide them when walking through the halls, and when getting up and down from your bathroom’s toilet seats.
With additional support for your elderly loved one, you can prevent them from getting injuries. Any minor wound or bruise on their body could lead to bigger health concerns, which might result in permanent, irreparable damages. With that, you should ensure that your aging loved one would stay safe under your care.
3. Keep Them Entertained
Unlike today’s generation, your aging loved one might not find it entertaining to scroll through their mobile phone the whole day. Instead of learning and keeping up with new technologies, they might want to opt for physical activities to keep their minds and bodies moving. With this, you should prepare for activities that are completely safe for them to do, keeping them entertained for the rest of the day.
If you have extra time on your hands, you might want to take them for a ride and bring them to a new park they could walk by. This will give them a new environment they could enjoy, as well as allow them see a different view of nature.
Alternatively, you can introduce them to new hobbies that they could easily do on their own. You can allow them to learn knitting, painting, solving crossword puzzles, or baking. Just ensure that you teach them how to do them properly to develop their skills on their own as they progress. While they might frequently ask questions, always answer them with helpful suggestions for them to fully enjoy their new hobby.
4. Don’t Forget Their Medications
An aging person might require plenty of medications they ought to drink daily. These may include their maintenance meds for their health issues or treatment meds to cure a current illness they might be experiencing. As such, you must help them take those meds on schedule, especially that a lot of elderly people tend to be forgetful.
You should consider creating a note on your calendar about which times of the day they should consume their medicines. Ideally, you should place this note in an area where you can always see it.
Furthermore, you should also note the medicines that are about to go out of stock and need refilling. Ideally, you should purchase a new batch a week before your supply runs out to prevent yourself from hurrying to the drug store to refill your aging loved one’s medicine cabinet.
5. You Might Need Help
Taking care of an elderly alone might not be the easiest thing to do, especially when there are plenty of aspects that you should look after. While hiring a caregiver would be a good option, not everyone may have the budget since they could come with an expensive fee. Alternatively, you can share the responsibility with another trusted adult, such as your sibling or another close relative, who can help with taking care of your aging loved one.
Keeping the care for your aging loved one within your family would be a great choice, especially if they’re family-oriented. This way, you can be more confident that your aging loved one would be in good hands as a blood relation would be looking after them. You can allow them to stay in your household by giving them their own room for privacy purposes.
As you ask for help from your relatives or your immediate family members, ensure that they can take care of the elderly. Some may need physical strength, as well as emotional strength, especially if things get too stressful. These may be required when an elderly may demand too much and will go through some mood changes.
6. You Might Need Financial Assistance
If you’re already living paycheck to paycheck, taking care of your aging loved one might cause a financial burden to your family. Apart from the time you need to properly care for your aging loved one, you also need to cover the cost of their medications, which you need to supply for them regularly. Fees might also include additional treatments and therapies, along with paying for a senior care service, if no one else would be around your house during the day.
If you’re having trouble with your family’s budget, you should consider asking for help from your siblings and tell them that you need financial support to fulfill your aging loved one’s needs. However, if the total amount everyone could chip in would not be enough to cover the elderly’s needs, you should consider looking for government or private benefits programs that could load off some expenses off your shoulders.
Alternatively, you might need to compromise with some of the things that you use inside your household. These include going for generic medicines, looking for a cheaper hospital for their therapies and treatments, and reducing your overall household expenses. While it might be challenging to adjust to a new lifestyle, it’ll be necessary to fulfill your aging loved one’s needs.
No matter how many activities you plan for your aging loved ones, you should never miss a day without socializing with them. Ideally, you should strike up a conversation before leaving for work and after you arrive at your own home. You can ask them how their day was an what did they do during the day. This will help keep their social skills running, while also preventing emotional distress.
If you choose to ignore your aging loved one every time they try to strike up a conversation, it can make them feel sad and awful. They might also think that you’re not happy with them being around the house, making them feel like a burden inside your household. To prevent these things from happening, you should always try to communicate with them, even if it’s just a light conversation.
Ideally, everyone in your household should try to communicate with them. If you have children with you, you can ask your children to ask stories from their grandparent. This will entertain your aging loved one and, at the same time, keep their mind running as they reminisce their old memories through storytelling.
8. Senior-Proof Your Home
Apart from thoroughly looking after your aging loved one, you should also senior-proof your home, allowing it to be a safe and comfortable place for them to stay in. You can begin by setting up their room at the ground floor, wherein they could have quick access to the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. This way, they no longer need to climb up and down the stairs every time they need to rest and sleep.
If you have the budget, it would be great to build their en suite toilet and bath, so they won’t have to worry about going from one room to another to do their business. Along with this, giving their room their own mini-fridge would help them as they no longer have to go to your kitchen just to conquer their thirst during the night. Just ensure that you provide easy-to-carry and lightweight jugs so they can easily pour themselves a cup.
Additionally, you should install anti-slip floor mats on your ground floor bathroom to prevent accidents every time they’re inside. It would also be helpful to add handrails that they could hold onto to support their body weight as they walk and sit down on the toilet.
Moreover, if your aging loved one prefers to get out of their room while the sun is still hiding, you might consider installing motion-sensor lights. This will help to automatically light up the entire ground floor the very moment that they step outside of their room. Furthermore, this will prevent them from navigating the dark, such as while looking for the light switch, which could cause an accident. You can just program the lights to turn off after sunrise to save on your electricity bills.
Caring for a senior isn’t easy as it looks. Apart from keeping them entertained the whole day, you should also consider their health concerns and look for safe activities they can accomplish. Along with this, you should also provide proper support to prevent injuries and accidents, which could lead to permanent damages.
Moreover, you should also prepare for the time you need to spend caring for your elderly loved one, along with the financial obligations it entails. Having said that, you should plan well on how you can best take care of your aging loved one. You can discuss the said aspects and concerns with your siblings and other family members so you can all come up with a unified solution that everyone will be comfortable with.