A Guide To Caring For Your Elderly Parents Or Relatives

October 9, 2023

Taking on a caring role over your parents can feel strange. After all, it was not so long ago that they were the ones caring for you!

Furthermore, while this is a role you're likely happy to step into, it is also a challenging one. For example, they may be dealing with a recent health diagnosis that leaves them needing consistent care and support.

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Whether your parents live independently or are about to move into your home, we've compiled some useful tips that you can use to make caring for them a little easier.

Ensure they’re staying on top of their health.

Encouraging your loved one to stay on top of their health is the easiest way to support them as they age. After all, this ensures that any pressing health concerns are addressed quickly, as opposed to being given time to worsen. 

For your own peace of mind, you may want to accompany them to any healthcare appointments or schedule checkups on their behalf, especially if they have not always been proactive when it comes to caring for their health. If they take daily medication, you may want to send them reminders to ensure that they’re staying on top of their treatment plan. If they have missing teeth, it's best to consult a dental expert, like this one who does the best dental implants in Delray Beach FL, to get them replaced.

Encourage them to visit the audiologist.

It's normal to experience some changes to our hearing as we get older. However, that’s not to say there’s nothing we can do to reduce the impact hearing loss has on our lives. After all, failing to address this could lead to a wide range of problems, such as social isolation and an increased risk of developing dementia. 

Furthermore, there are various different treatment methods available, such as hearing aids. If they believe they may benefit from using this device, then you should help them to find the most trusted hearing providers in your local area and schedule in a consultation and hearing test on their behalf. This way, they can begin to reap the benefits of hearing aid use sooner rather than later. 

Don’t make assumptions.

When you step into a caregiving role, wanting to make most of the decisions independently is perfectly natural. However, it is not always necessary and can leave your relative feeling infantilized and frustrated. As such, it's important that you do not make assumptions relating to their healthcare or their next steps and instead involve them in the conversation.

Treating them in this way will help you to better communicate with elderly relatives, reducing their frustration quite considerably. It also means that you can develop an effective care plan.

Encourage them to socialize with others.

Senior citizens tend to deal with isolation and loneliness more than any other age group, a trend that can likely be linked to a lack of mobility or their desire to spend more time at home. However, this can easily be combated by ensuring that they maintain an active social life. 

This does not mean that you have to spend 24/7 with them, especially as you have other responsibilities to attend to. However, you should call as often as you can, especially if you’re worried that they will not speak to anyone otherwise. You should also encourage them to sign up for local community groups and classes, where they will be able to connect with other seniors and make new friends. Not only will this help you to protect their emotional well-being, but it can also prevent cognitive decline. 

Modify their home.

If your loved one is dealing with any kind of mobility issues, you should be prepared to modify their living space accordingly. This ensures that they are as comfortable as possible and can prevent accidents or injuries. For example, you could install handrails in strategic places throughout their home, such as by the bath or shower or beside any steps,

Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too.

Have you heard the saying, “You cannot pour from an empty cup?”

While you may be more than happy to pour all of your energy into caring for your parents, doing so will put you on the path to burnout. This, in turn, can make it harder for you to show up for your loved one, meaning you may not be as helpful as you’d like (or need) to be. 

As such, it's crucial that you also take good care of your own health and well-being during this time. Get plenty of rest and sleep, and make time for self-care wherever possible. 

*contributed post*

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