7 Ways To Take Better Care Of Older Relatives
Older relatives play a huge role in shaping our lives. From moms and dads to aunts, uncles, and grandparents, they work themselves hard to provide a great start in life and even better future. As you grow older, you tend to see a reversal in the roles you once held. After being taken care of your entire life, it’s difficult to realize that those older than you now need your help. Becoming a caregiver in any sense of the word is tough. It’s an often upsetting, exhausting, and stressful responsibility. To take better care of your older relatives, here are seven things that you must do.
1. Learn More About Caring
To effectively care for your loved one, you must have a clear picture of their everyday needs. Looking after a senior is nothing like looking after yourself or a child. There are many health conditions that those later in life typically suffer from. You can only provide the right help and support if you learn more about these issues, especially when they affect your relative. Researching these conditions can be upsetting, but it will help you to prepare for what’s to come.
2. Make Changes At Home
Although your relative needs extra support, they might not necessarily have to move out of their home. Most seniors want to hold onto their independence for as long as possible, so, while it is safe, you should allow them to do so. That being said, you will have to check that their house is equipped for their needs. Safety features, like handrails and medical alert systems, might need to be added, and you will have to remove as many trip hazards from the house as you can.
3. Find The Right Support
The older your relative gets, the more help they will need. Depending on your circumstances, you might not have the time to take care of them like they need to be. When you both start to struggle, it will help to seek out professional support. There are plenty of options to consider, from live-in home care to nursing homes. Make sure that your relative gets a say in the support that you choose. If there are other loved ones to lend a hand, you can ask for their help too.
4. Look For Warning Signs
Asking a stranger to help care for your loved one isn’t easy, regardless of their qualifications and recommendations. What makes this worse is hearing all of the stories about nursing homes and carers that abused their patients. If this were ever to happen to your relative, you could contact a personal injury attorney about seeking compensation. For this reason, and the welfare of your relative, you should look out for warning signs that the professional you hired isn’t doing their job.
5. Attend Important Health Checks
Annual health checkups are crucial at any point in life but are especially important for seniors. After all, you become more at risk to a number of different conditions as you grow older. The trouble is, many older people avoid these checks whenever they can. If you suspect that your relative is doing this, then you will have to step in. Rather than expecting your loved one to go alone, you should ask when their appointments are and tag along with them.
6. Fight Against Social Isolation
Isolation isn’t always thought of as a serious issue for seniors. When there are so many life-threatening illnesses to look out for, loneliness isn’t a primary concern. However, studies have shown that loneliness can have a devastating effect on physical health, as well as mental health. Because of this, you must encourage your relative to be more socially active. As well as increasing your own time with them, you could suggest joining a club or visiting friends.
7. Take Care Of Yourself
When taking care of a loved one, putting their needs above your own can easily become second-nature. The problem with this is that, if you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be able to look after anyone else, even your relative. You need to make time for exercise, three healthy meals a day, and plenty of rest. It can also help to join a support group for people in your situation. By talking about your struggles, you’ll find it much easier to overcome them.
Taking care of an older relative can definitely be difficult, both for you and the relative themselves. However, with the advice above, you’ll both find it much easier to adjust to your new roles.
*Image for collaborative post From Pixabay