Caring for elderly family members can be a difficult and time-consuming task. You must also make sure that you are getting enough rest and taking care of yourself.
Your elderly loved ones may be resistant to your attempts to help them and connect them with resources. You can help them overcome this resistance by having open and respectful conversations with them.
1. Take Care Of The Physical Needs
Elders often need help with daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, and taking medication. It’s important to assess their needs regularly and look for warning signs that their health is deteriorating, such as a lack of appetite, trouble walking or moving around, weight loss, or memory problems.
If you live far away from your loved one or are not able to care for them yourself, it’s important to find help as soon as possible. Reach out to family and friends and ask them for assistance. You can also consider trading services with a friend or neighbor who lives nearby. For example, you could cook for them while they take care of the yard or shopping. This will give them a break from the routine and prevent them from feeling lonely.
It’s also a good idea to make their home safe and comfortable. This may include adjusting the lighting, adding grab bars in the bathroom and bedroom, or installing a ramp for wheelchairs. You can also install a safety system that allows them to push a button and call for emergency medical help. This can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation.
You should also encourage them to stay physically active. This will help keep their bones strong and prevent depression, which can be common in older adults. Activities can be as simple as taking them out for a walk or playing cards or games with them. This will give them a sense of purpose and help them feel connected to others, which is important for mental health.
You should also pay them frequent visits. This will not only give them emotional security but will allow you to check on any issues in their home or neighborhood. For instance, you can check the status of their prescriptions, food supply, mail, and plants. You can also do a general inspection of their house to see if anything needs to be fixed. Also, make sure to get their medical records and test results to stay updated with their health status. In addition, it’s important to maintain a balance between caring for your elderly loved ones and taking care of yourself.
2. Take Care Of The Emotional Needs
When it comes to taking care of elderly loved ones, emotional needs are just as important as physical needs. Elders are often feeling vulnerable as they age, and this is not just due to a loss of independence. For many, a diagnosis of a serious illness is a life-changing event that has an immediate impact on their daily activities. Even if they have accepted that their health is deteriorating, they may struggle with the fact that they are no longer in control of their own lives.
This can be especially true if they have had to give up their job or have lost touch with their friends. Losing their independence can be a major blow to the self-esteem of a once confident and successful individual. The sense of loss can lead to depression and anxiety. The best way to help your elderly loved one deal with these emotions is to listen to them and offer support.
Try to pay your elderly family members frequent visits, especially if they are living alone. This will make them feel that they are still needed and that someone cares about them. This will also allow you to check in on them and look for any changes that may need to be made.
It is also a good idea to make sure that your elderly loved ones are aware of any resources that they might be eligible for in their community. This can include everything from food stipends to workout equipment. It is also a good idea to teach your elderly family members how to use the Internet and other forms of communication, as this can be beneficial for their mental health.
If your elderly loved one is struggling to cope with the changing circumstances of their lives, you should encourage them to talk about their feelings with a professional. They may need counseling or support groups to help them get through this difficult time. They should also be encouraged to seek help if they are having suicidal thoughts or feelings of depression. It is important that they know that their feelings are valid and that they will not be judged.
3. Take Care Of The Financial Needs
Caring for an older adult is a huge responsibility that can be very expensive. There are many different things that need to be taken into consideration like medical care, food, housing and daily activities. It is important to have a plan in place to help take care of these expenses. You can do this by discussing the needs of your loved one with their doctor and taking into account any future changes in health problems.
It is also a good idea to have an objective third party look over any financial statements that your loved ones might be giving out. This way you can make sure that no money is being misused or stolen. You can also monitor any suspicious activity, such as a sudden change in investment style or attitude. If you are suspicious of any of these activities, contact a trusted family member or a financial advisor right away.
Another thing to consider is if they will be able to afford the costs of caring for themselves as they get older. This will depend on a number of factors, including their income and the cost of living in a home or assisted living facility. Some people may be able to qualify for government assistance programs that will help them pay for these costs. It is a good idea to talk to an elder care attorney or financial planner about these options.
Taking care of the financial needs of an older adult can be challenging, especially if they are reluctant to accept help. It is important to be patient and understanding when trying to discuss these issues with them. Try to find a time when they are calm and not stressed out, and be open and honest about your concerns.
You can also try to help them save money by setting up automatic withdrawals from their bank accounts for bills and other payments. This will help them build up a cushion for the future, as well as ensure that they will always have money for emergencies. You can also suggest that they seek help from a financial counselor or geriatric care manager.
4. Take Care Of The Personal Needs
Elders have many personal needs that can be hard to meet. For example, they may be at risk for scams and identity theft, so it’s important to check on them regularly to make sure that they aren’t being targeted by criminals. They also need to take their medications regularly. This is especially true if they have been recently discharged from hospital and are on medication for a long term condition.
It’s also important to ensure that they have access to resources that can help them meet their needs. Some of these are government or community-based and might include food stipends, workout equipment, or services to get them to doctor appointments. Do some research and see what is available in your area.
Another important thing to do is to check on them frequently and provide them with the emotional security they need. This can be done by simply paying them a visit or calling them on the phone regularly. During these visits, you can also look over their home and address any issues that need to be addressed. This can include checking on their prescriptions, food supplies, and mail.
Taking care of elderly loved ones can be a difficult task, so it’s important to take some time for yourself from time to time. This will help keep your mental and physical health in good shape so that you can better take care of your loved ones. It’s also a good idea to trade some of the tasks that need to be completed between you and others in the family who are able to help.
It’s also a good idea to encourage your loved ones to stay active and socialize as much as possible. This will help them maintain their independence and quality of life. It’s also a good idea for them to have a regular sleep schedule, as this can help prevent problems like memory loss and depression. Try to encourage them to go to bed at the same time each night and to avoid napping during the day. Finally, it’s important to communicate with them clearly and kindly. Some elders can have difficulty hearing, so it’s important to talk slowly and clearly and to enunciate each word.