Seeing an older family member begin to struggle with day-to-day tasks can be a difficult experience. You worry about their safety and quality of life but also respect and understand their wish to remain independent. Many of us are unable to invite senior relatives to live with us and many seniors are averse to the idea of living in a care home. Forming a solid support plan is key to allowing an older relative to enjoy their senior years without feeling as if they are a burden.
Guard against the worst
If your loved one has a bad fall or other medical emergency, it’s crucial that they have a way of quickly calling for help. The market now offers an increasing selection of technological solutions designed to make this easier than ever, with everything from single-press alarm systems to GPS tracking, all designed with simplicity of use in mind.
Make their home a safe-haven
Imagine you are subject to the same physical restrictions as your loved one. Walk around the home and think about how you would manage the stairs, wash yourself, prepare meals and other necessary tasks. What kinds of modifications would help?
Consider a carer
No matter how much you want to, there might be times when you are simply unable to go round and look after an elderly loved one. There is no shame in enlisting professional help and employing the services of a carer to help your relative with cooking, washing themselves and other vital self-care tasks.
Establish good ongoing healthcare routines
It’s important to ensure your loved one’s nutritional needs are met, perhaps by ordering regular meal kits. You also need to keep in touch with both your relative and with healthcare professionals to ensure that the correct medication is taken regularly and the right prescriptions are collected in a timely fashion.
Communication is key
Supporting an elderly relative to remain independent assumes that they are still fairly compos mentis. It’s easy to end up dismissing the social needs of an elderly person. But that phone call, that visit or that lift to a senior swim class could be the difference between them having the longest, happiest life that they can and suffering a lonely and depressed old age truncated by extra health issues born of stress. Remember that elderly people sometimes have issues with hearing or are going to want to discuss particular topics more than others because of generational differences.
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