How to take care of your elderly relatives

Ageing. Some of us would rather not discuss or even think about it as it can be quite daunting and scary. This may be especially the case when thinking of your parents, grandparents or even any of your loved ones. So, if you are worried about your elderly relatives, have caring responsibilities for them and want to learn some tips on how to take care of them, then this article should hopefully help and guide you.

Consider elderly care homes

Depending on your caring capabilities, this option may or may not be the right one for you. If you already have a ton of responsibilities, whether it be work, children, family related etc., then perhaps caring for your elderly relatives may be a burden and too much for you physically and mentally. This is something that you should not feel ashamed of admitting, but rather, acknowledging and accepting this will likely be more beneficial for you both in the long run. There are many places and options available in regard to elderly care homes such as the Auberge, a trusted Lake Zurich assisted living home.

Of course, the care home you choose should and will depend on the likes, dislikes and preferences of the individual who will live in it. So, be sure to take the necessary care and time into looking and evaluating all of the available options before eventually coming to a final decision. Things to consider and helpful tips for choosing the right care home for your loved one(s) include:

  • Talk to your loved one about the things and services they would like to receive from the care home.
  • Carefully consider the location of the home. Is it close enough to be able to visit regularly? Is it located in a busy city district? Is it situated in a place that is idyllic? Is it located in a residential area?
  • Give the care home a call and a visit to check whether the staff are friendly and caring, if you and your loved one like the facility and to ask residents about their experiences and opinions about the home.
  • Check visiting hours. Are the times flexible or rigid?
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Visit regularly

If your elderly loved one does not live with you, then one of the best ways to take care of them is by visiting them regularly. Humans are social creatures after all. Remember also, your elderly relative is likely to have a lot of time on their hands, so visiting them often will undoubtedly bring them a lot of joy. When on the visit, make it a productive use of time for both of you. If you are able, check around the house for any problems or maintenance issues that need to be given attention to. For example, checking if the house is clean, if there is anything broken that needs to be fixed and if there is enough food in the house, is a great start.

So, checking in often will be beneficial for both parties as you are reassured that their physical and mental health are okay and that they are of good health and coping and they get the extra assistance and help they need. A win-win situation!

Make the necessary home modifications

The number of home modifications that will need to be made ultimately depends on the capabilities of your elderly loved one. If they are very healthy and able to take care of themselves and function without the extra help of ramps, wheelchairs, or walkers then this tip may not be super relevant. However, if your elderly loved one does indeed struggle with mobility, then installing such technologies in their home would make their lives just that little bit easier. Options and examples of home modifications include:

  • The install of a raised toilet
  • Install a shower chair in the bathroom
  • Handrails added in the bathroom (toilet, bathtub, and shower), stairs and outdoor areas (e.g., doors, garages)
  • Removing any noticeable trip hazards (small rugs, clutter, and mess on floors)
  • Install rocker-style light switches
  • Invest in smart home technologies (e.g., smart lights, vacuum cleaners)
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Help them manage their finances

This can be a sensitive and personal topic, so be considerate when bringing it up. However, do not let this stop you from discussing it with them as it is very important. So, have open talks with your elderly relative about finances so that you can do all that you can to better support and help them. If you feel you are not qualified to do so, then perhaps consider employing a professional to do the job for you. This is likely the best option as it avoids and reduces the likelihood of conflicts arising or mistakes being made.

However, if you want to embark on this task alone, then there are some tips to help you protect your elderly relatives’ money which include:

  • Discussing their goals and needs. How much money are they currently earning? How much have they already saved? What do they plan to do with the money?
  • Teaching and training them on how to not fall victim to scams (telephone and mail)
  • Check in regularly to see if their bills are being paid, if and how their financial situation has changed and if they have any queries or questions.

Help them in sustaining a healthy diet

Taking care of physical health by eating healthy foods and exercising is something that should be done always and throughout life but is especially important when you get older as you become more prone to illness. So, you should ensure that your elderly loved one is taking care of their physical health by eating a very clean and healthy diet. If they are unable to cook for themselves, then provide them with nutritious home cooked meals or subscribe them to a service which provides this. This is very important as physical health also impacts mental health. Therefore, you should ensure that they are able to access healthy foods to positively contribute to their overall well-being.

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