Providing care and support for an elderly
takes empathy and patience. Doing your best for the aging can be challenging,
but it’s worth it to see them safer and happier. You are not alone caring for
the aging, the number of people who need elderly support is increasing. According
to studies, 1 in 8 adults between the age of 50-65 are caring for elderly parents.
The amount of elderly support and care
required very much depends on the health of the adult. Do they require live-in
care? Or can they manage if you visit them on regular basis to help with shopping,
laundry, cleaning, etc.? In such cases, a basic personal alarm with an
emergency button for the elderly might be enough to give you peace of mind.
However, there are many factors that you will need to consider if you are
deciding what care your aging relative needs. We have put together the following
guidelines to examine the key aspects of caring for the elderly.
Caring for an aging relative isn’t just a matter of making sure that they eat and have their medication on time. It is also about making them feel heard, valued and seen and a great starting point to ensure these are being met is simply having regular talks with your loved one. Unfortunately many aging individuals suffer from anxiety and stress which has a negative effect on their health. If you are caring for an aging relative, find out if there is anything on their mind and help them keep a positive perspective.
Keeping an aging relative stimulated can have a positive impact on their mental health as well as their physical health. It doesn’t always have to be a big event, in fact doing puzzles or crosswords and playing games can be an excellent way to stimulate them and exercise the brain. If they can play with others family members or relatives it is preferred but even doing those activities mentioned alone, can help stimulate their brain.
A great tip for individuals caring for an aging relative with dementia can be showing them albums with old photos and postcards as they help trigger their memories. Meditation has also been proven to play a key role in reducing anxiety and stress.
Eating and drinking can be a challenge for some aging relatives, some might even forget that they haven’t eaten if they have Alzheimer’s. It is recommended that you serve the aging person with a small portion of food so they don’t feel overwhelmed and then offer them more once they have finished. If their meals look good, nutritious, and colorful, they might eat more. You can also leave healthy, easy to open snacks and drinks within reach, to ensure that their needs are met when you are not there. It is very important that they have a balanced diet, as it can really impact their wellbeing.
If your elderly relative can use the oven or the microwave, then it would be a good idea to cook meals in bulk and then freeze them. This allows for the elderly to heat them up at their convenience. There are also meal delivery services in each region that are a great option if you are struggling to find time to cook for the elderly.
There are also various tools in the market that help older individuals to be able to make their own meals. Tools you can purchase include things like jar or bottle openers, tap turners, easy-grip cutlery, non-spill cups, etc. to improve the eating and drinking experience. We will be creating a list of the top products for the elderly, so be sure to check back soon!
Hygiene can be a big hurdle, especially when the individual has mobility problems. Being unbalanced on their feet might make it challenging for them to have a shower or take a bath. Bathroom aids such as tap turners, grab rails, and boards will prove to be very helpful for them if they don’t want extra hands in the bathroom. Apart from these, consider replacing the traditional bath with a sitting shower or bath. All these things can help reduce the risk of falling for the elderly, which can be a great risk to elder individuals.
When you are helping an aging relative wash, try to have a robe or towel ready in case they feel embarrassed when they are entering/exiting the shower or bath. If you are not around, make sure that they have enough soap and flannels so that they can wash if they want to. It is also recommended that you make clothes easy to reach and encourage the aging person to change their clothes on regular basis.
Different people have different mobility levels but it’s important that you encourage your loved one to do some exercise or move around. If standing is difficult for them, try and get them to exercise from a sitting position. You can do things like giving them a soft foam ball for hand squeezing which can improve grip and may help with arthritis pain. If the person has some mobility, encourage them to take a daily walk.
It can be quite difficult to look after an aging person who wishes to stay in their own home. No doubt you will find yourself worrying about them, particularly if they live alone. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help them live independently and safely in their own home.
According to the NHS, falls are one of the primary cases of emergency hospital admissions for the elderly. If you are caring for an aging individual, then it is highly recommended that you try to do some basic fall prevention. You can do things like ensuring that their home is clean and tidy. Make sure that there are no hazards on the floor like piles of newspapers or magazines, an unsecured rug, a trailing cable, etc. It would also be a good idea to move their bedroom downstairs.
There are a number of ways technology can help you care for the aging. Stairlifts are an excellent choice. A personal alarm device with a fall detection feature is also recommended as it will give you peace of mind if the elderly person is often at home alone. This type of alarm will send an alert when someone has a fall without them having to press their SOS pendant.
There are many things to consider when making the decision to care for the aging. And it’s always worth checking if you are entitled to any extra equipment or support from the government and not-for-profits to effectively help your loved one.