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Life as we know it has been strange this year. But the one thing it may have shown us more than we ever realised before, is how important our family and friends are. Feeling disconnected and not being able to even hug elderly relatives has been tough. This means that as we progress into a future, one that looks promising with a vaccine, we appreciate our time with our loved ones more than ever before.
Things to consider when taking care of an elderly relative
Adapting their home, what are the options?
One of the first things you might want to consider is whether or not you can adapt to their home. This might be in simple ways such as hand grips on the wall to help in rooms like the bathroom or getting around the home. Or it might be investing in something like a stairlift where it can help someone get up and down the stairs easier.
There are so many things that you can consider with adaptations, and many companies can help tailor the home to suit the needs of your loved ones. Whether it is about mobility, or just making things easier, adaptations can be fitted quite easily and could allow someone who is struggling with their health to keep their independence for as long as possible.
What about wearable technology and gadgets?
Sometimes elderly relatives are not as averse to technology as we might believe, and often simple things like a smartwatch or bracelet that reminds you to take medication or go to appointments could be just what it takes to keep them going. You may not always be around to help them out, and it might be worth trying to encourage as much independent living as possible. Not just for them but also for yourself. Other gadgets could be clocks with reminders around the home, helping them to remember small details like the day or the date.
Think about their future options
There comes a time when you might have to think about the future, and that could be anything from additional support workers visiting regularly to looking into care homes and seeing what options are out there. There are many different options that you can consider. There are care homes that will take on full responsibility, live-in care options that may be able to give a little independence or take the pressure off yourself, or even things like visitors that can come in with meals or just to help around the home.
It might not be something you have to do straight away, but it is worth having a conversation with anyone involved to see what the general opinion and thoughts are. Knowing how they feel about certain things could help you to make the right decision when the time comes.
Small things can make a big difference
Often care of someone else such as an elderly relative or loved one starts with the small things. It doesn’t often present itself where one minute they are living independently and then the next needing 24-hour care and attention. There is that in-between stage and it can be quite gradual. This is where the small things can make the most difference. It might be having them at your home once a week for a family feast. Making their food so that they don’t have to cook too often. It could even be more regular visits or just doing their shopping for them weekly.
The more small things you do, the easier things are for them. Of course, over time this might start to increase, and the level of care of things that you do may become more frequent.
Consider your and their feelings
The one thing that often gets overlooked when it comes to taking care of someone else, especially someone older who perhaps once took care of you, is the emotions involved. It can be quite a strange dynamic to get used to at first, which is why you need to be sensitive to the other person’s feelings.
Think before taking action and try and have their best interest at heart. On the flip side don’t forget this can be a difficult thing for you to go through as well, so ensure you consider your own emotions and take time to handle them in your way.
Take care of yourself
Finally, make sure you take care of yourself. Getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising may be, and generally looking after yourself means that you are in the best shape to take care of someone else. Often when taking care of others you can start to put yourself lower down the priority list, especially if you have your own family and children to take care of. However, you aren’t in the best place to help if you are not in the best place yourself. Do what you can to avoid neglecting yourself for others as you perhaps won’t be doing them any favours in the long run.
Looking after someone you love is never going to be an easy thing to do. Let’s hope that these tips help you to take care of and elderly relative if needed in the future.