Your 12-Step Guide to Caring for an Elderly Relative

Caring for elderly relative such as parents is something many of us will have to do at some point, but it’s not an easy prospect. There are so many limitations on what older people are able to do, but in this day and age, things are starting to get easier. You really need to think carefully about what your parents want to do in the future and what their current quality of life is before moving forward.

There are a number of things to consider when looking for how you can care for elderly relatives. You have to consider what the future might hold as well as how things will affect them on a daily basis. We know how important it is to make sure your loved ones are taken care of, and it can be heartbreaking to see them suffering. That’s why we have come up with this 12-step guide of things you can do to help look after your elderly parents.

  1. Respect Who They Are

It’s easy to forget that you elderly parent or relative is their own person, and they still have a great deal of character, personality, and pride. This shouldn’t be underestimated because it is likely to mean that they might be resistant to your suggestion of help, at least at first.

You should also remember that they are no an invalid, and just because they’re old, it doesn’t mean they are incapable of everything. They will still be able to do plenty of things and function at a normal level, so ensure you treat them with the respect they deserve.

  1. Consider Moving Nearby

One of the big decisions you’re going to need to make when something like this becomes a consideration is whether or not you’re going to move nearby. Sometimes it might be the case that your elderly parent or grandparent needs a great deal of help and will be relying on you as a loved one.

So, you need to make a decision about whether you’re going to move house to be nearer to your elderly relative. This is a big decision to make because moving house is a huge upheaval for you and your family, so this is something you have to think hard about.

  1. A Phone Call Every Day

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to be there for them, and let them know you love them. Often, a friendly voice on the end of the phone is the only thing an elderly family member needs to feel safe and cared for on a daily basis. Make sure you keep this up and that you are calling at least once a day.

Often, elderly people can feel lonely and neglected, and many of them suffer for weeks or months on end because nobody has bothered to check how they are. This is an important part of the process, and something you need to keep up with.

  1. Help Them Get Out and About

The health benefits of getting outside are well documented, and even a half hour walk per day can really help to have a positive impact on heart health and long-term well-being. This is why you need to do what you can to help your elderly parent or relative get out and about. They might want to go for a walk, or they might just fancy sitting out in the garden for a bit of fresh air. It’s important to make sure you help them spend time outside because this will be beneficial to them in terms of their health, but also their enjoyment and happiness.

  1. Make Them More Mobile

An issue that a lot of older people face is a lack of mobility, and this can be really embarrassing and frustrating for them. A lot of the time they might not be very mobile, and it might take them a long time to get anywhere or do anything. One of the best things you can do as a loved one is to take action to help them become more mobile. This might involve getting them a wheelchair or looking at mobility scooters or even helping them get a car on mobility. Anything that can help them move around more easily and quickly is going to be really useful.

  1. Encourage Them to Embrace Hobbies and Interests

Studies have proven that hobbies and interests are really helpful for boosting cognitive abilities and helping improve brain power. It’s actually proven that things like Sudoku can actually help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. You will find that if you encourage your elderly parent to engage in hobbies and interests, it will improve their quality of life. They might also be able to develop new friendships and find common ground with other people of a similar age. Everyone needs hobbies and interests no matter how old you are, and this is an important part of staying healthy and alert even as you get older.

  1. Understand Your Limitations

You also need to realize that you can’t do everything and you can’t be everywhere all at once. Often your elderly relative will become overly reliant on you, and you will feel obligated to help them because they are family. The truth is there is only so much you can do, and you have your own family to look out for as well. When it comes to the point where you are beginning to be stretched to the limit, it might be time to consider taking other measures. You have to make sure you have professional care and attention for your relative so that they get the best treatment possible.

  1. Look for Care Options

Speaking of professional care and attention, you might consider looking for care homes that you feel would be right for them. When choosing a care home for an elderly family member, you want to make sure you choose somewhere that is respectable, with a great reputation and a nice, appealing layout. The thing to do is to make sure you research and find suitable care homes fairly near to where you live. If you feel this isn’t an option you should, at the very least, consider assisted living options to help them out if they are reluctant to leave their own home.

  1. Ask Them What They Want

So much of the time we actually forget to ask older people what exactly they want. This is something that you have to do because they are the ones that are going to be affected at the end of the day. Make sure you have given plenty of consideration to what they want for their future. They will know what day to day life is like for them, as well as the sorts of things they need help and support with. Defer to them where you can, and this will help you to make the best decisions for them going forward.

  1. Make Sure They Get the Right Support

The fact of the matter is, as people get older they need more attention and support. This doesn’t just mean in a physical sense, but they might have issues with dementia or Alzheimer’s as well, and they need support to help them with this. So you need to check out centers and support groups like Seasons Memory Care who can provide the right level of support required. This is something that is really going to help your relative feel more at ease and comfortable dealing with their issues, and they can get better treatment as a result.

  1. Take Them for Regular Checkups

Health is a major concern as you get older, and you need to make sure you are in great shape as much as possible. Elderly people face more problems than younger people because their bodies are older. As such, you need to make sure you get your elderly family member to the doctor for regular checkups as much as you can. This is very important because it is the best way of identifying potential health problems before they get any worse.

  1. Talk to Them About Finances

Another concern you should keep in mind is that your parents might be facing financial difficulties as they get older. Keep in mind that they will be retired and living on their pensions, and perhaps a 401k as well. But, this money only goes so far, and if they have a lot of healthcare treatment, it could wind up depleting their savings significantly. Have a talk with them about finances and what their expenses are. See if they need any help with money and make sure you help them through this situation, as this is essential for helping them have a little more independence.  

This is your 12-step guide that will really come in useful when you are trying to care for elderly relatives. This is something you have to treat with caution, and it will be important for the future for you to lay the groundwork now. Elderly family members can be proud and stubborn, and they might be resistant to offers of help, at least to begin with. You must make sure you do what you can to see to it that they are taken care of and that their future is secure.

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