Helping Hand – Caring for Aging Relatives

Everyone wants to live independently even into old age, but health and wellness-related complications may sometimes crush that desire. Caring for the elderly can be tasking and stressful, but if you plan, there is no reason not to adapt and give them the best care they need. 

Fortunately, they can still comfortably live in their homes with home care services. Deciding on how to take care of them without taking away their independence is tricky, but that should not pull you down. Read this step by step guide to understand how to do it:

1. Assess The Amount of Care They Need

Before doing further research, it is vital to evaluate the amount of care needed for your loved one. You might think that you can handle it on your own, but it might be an overwhelming task for you. 

A straightforward method to evaluate this is by letting your loved one stay with you for some time – a week should do. In a week, you will have almost had a clear picture of the kind of care that they need. The overall basics that you must keep in mind are:

● Their physical, mental, and social health

● Financial status- This is based on your capability and theirs

● Their understanding of the matter

● Your current work or life situation

● The role other family members can play

2. Assess Your Capabilities to Provide Care

Conduct research on the amount of care and the responsibilities you need to address each day without leaving out anything. It will be easier to know how much you can handle without extra help with all the facts in mind. If the senior has a chronic disease, they will likely need 24 hours care with a strict health plan which must be adhered to. Can you or your relatives provide this? 

Some seniors may want to live with their loved ones, but that would indirectly ask them to sacrifice their life essentials to provide the best care. Giving them the best care amidst the challenges will provide incredible satisfaction, but it could lead to burnout in the long run, which is unhealthy. 

3. Ask For Support from Friends and Family

Caregiving requires physical, emotional, and financial support. It is almost impossible for one family member to do this unassisted. If you pool resources, the task becomes more manageable. A sibling may be available to live with them for some time. If you all decide to hire a caregiver, you will have to come together and decide how to get the funds to sustain that plan. 

4. Hold A Discussion

As much as your seniors depend on you for care, it is not right to give them ultimatums or push them into anything without consulting them. Hear them out, show value and respect to their opinions, and involve them in decision-making. 

You can only hold productive conversations when they are relaxed or in a good mood. Discuss your concerns with them and cultivate a spirit of trust and understanding as you engage them. If you already have a solution to the level of care needed, speak about its positives and how it impacts their lives. Most seniors trust their physicians, so it will be a plus to have them reinforce the type of care they need when holding such crucial discussions.

5. Source For Professional Help

If your loved one is suffering from conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, it will be necessary to seek professional help. At times, such conditions are hard to treat and can only be managed through constant supervision to enhance their safety. Social isolation further worsens the situation and can lead to premature death. 

Your loved one will be in safe hands under a personalized care plan from a good memory care specialist right from their home. A caregiver will be able to provide them with the social companion that they need, help them do light housekeeping tasks, and respond promptly to emergencies. While searching for caregiving options, it is vital to keep an open mind and find the most viable help for your loved one.

6. Get Them Assistive Devices

The end goal is to maintain the independence and safety of your senior at all costs. Assistive devices will come in handy to help seniors run their daily activities like reading, sleeping, walking, lifting, communicating, exercising, etc., without struggle. Even with a caregiver around, they should be able to do some of these unaided. Anything that makes their life easier also simplifies your life and that of the caregiver. 

With the insights into how you can take care of your loved one, now you can kickstart the process without fear. Most importantly, as you take care of them, do not forget to be on a self-care routine. 

About the Author

Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.

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