Whether it’s a close friend or a relative, caring for the elderly can present some unique challenges. It isn’t always easy caring for the elderly, but the more you know going in, the easier you will find it. With a relatively small amount of guidance, looking after your elderly relatives will be much less difficult. Even knowing the most basic aspects of caring for the elderly will help you a great deal.
Whether you are caring for them within their own home or they are currently living in a senior living facility, if you are able and willing to go the extra mile for them, it can make a huge difference to their lives. Here are some essential tips that will help even completely inexperienced care-givers to help their elderly relatives in their day to day lives.
Many children will find themselves in the position of needing to care for elderly relatives in their old age. Planning ahead can make this much easier, allowing you to put in place as many pieces of your plan as you can ahead of time. This is definitely preferable to leaving yourself open to the impact of a last-minute emergency.
You should also be prepared for the appearance of unexpected illness and injury; this can throw a spanner in the works, and in some cases can prove to be very expensive. Make sure that you have an emergency plan for the most common illnesses and injuries that are likely to affect your loved one. Make sure that you and your loved one know all the relevant emergency phone numbers and procedures, as well as how to use any medical equipment.
There are a number of ways that technology can make keeping track of and looking after the elderly much easier. You can show your relative how to operate a smartphone so that they can set alarms and reminders for themselves, as well as staying in contact with friends and family.
Anti-scalding devices, along with other devices designed to improve home safety, are also a good investment for your elderly relative. These devices can prevent the most likely and most serious accidents that occur in the homes of the elderly.
Work Out Your Budget
Providing care for the elderly can quickly become very expensive. It is therefore vital that you are always aware of how much money you have available, what you can afford to spend and what you need to hold back for other costs and expenses. Make sure that you always research your care options when you need to take on other help and choose one that strikes the balance between comprehensiveness and affordability.
Keep Them Active
Keeping active is an important part of our health and fitness at any age, but it is especially important in the elderly. There is a lot of evidence out there that keeping physically fit in our old age leads to much better overall health outcomes. Those who have spent most of their adult lives being sedentary are the ones who tend to benefit the most from switching to a more active lifestyle. Exercise can reduce or delay the need for care and keep diseases away for many years.
It is generally recommended that elderly people aim to do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times every week. Those who are doing more intensive forms of exercise that raise the heart rate a lot more are advised to exercise 20 minutes a day three days a week. Weight training or resistance exercises such as dumbbell exercises or exercises that use bodyweight should be performed on non-consecutive days, no more than three days a week.
Those who aren’t able to exercise on their own and are unable to meet these guidelines can still benefit from doing whatever exercise they can. As long as they are keeping active and not simply keeping their bodies sedentary and unmoving for long periods, elderly people will benefit. A great option for elderly people looking to keep fit is passive range of motion exercises.
It is important that elderly people with limited mobility change their position relatively frequently. Otherwise, there is the potential for sores and ulcers to develop. These can ultimately become infected and lead to serious health complications if they aren’t treated.
Monitor Their Health
Make sure that if your elderly relative reports any health issues to you, you ensure that they are checked out by a doctor. If the issues presenting are serious enough, ensure that emergency care is sought as soon as possible.
As well as listening to any issues that your relative reports, make sure that you also look out for any signs that their health is changing in some way. Common signs that a relative’s health is failing include signs of weakness, forgetfulness or general unsteadiness. It is also important to ensure that the mental health of your elderly relative is monitored just as closely.
If your relative’s health deteriorates or becomes difficult for you to manage, you should consider whether an assisted living facility might be in their best interests. These facilities are able to manage the specific needs of the elderly and will give them a high standard of care. Reputable providers like Arthurs Senior Care are often the best way of ensuring that your relative remains safe and well cared for.
If your relative drives, you should be mindful of whether their deteriorating health makes them less safe as a driver. They might be putting other people in danger, as well as themselves. In some cases, although it might be difficult, it may be necessary to recommend that an elderly relative stop driving.
Caring for the elderly isn’t easy, but it also doesn’t need to become a drain on your daily life. As long as you prepare and make sure that you always have a plan in place, caring for your elderly relatives should be a reasonably painless experience. When you do need to seek outside assistance, make sure that you carefully research your options and choose one that represents good value with a comprehensive service.
Photo by Marisa Howenstine