Growing old is an inevitable part of life, and it brings a lot of changes with it. As we grow up, our parents grow older until, eventually, they start requiring help and care from us, like we needed help and care from them when we were younger. There are a lot of nursing homes that employ well-trained staff to provide quality care to their residents. However, most old people do not want to make a big change like moving at that age. They prefer to stay at home where they are most comfortable.
This can seem very challenging at first to the people who are now responsible for taking care of the elderly person. However, if you do proper research and are willing to take out some time to help, taking care of an elderly person while they live at home is quite a manageable task. Here are a few things you can do to help make your elderly loved one’s life better and your job taking care of them a little easier.
1) Hire a Professional
Old age comes with a myriad of health conditions. Some are manageable, while others require around-the-clock care. Sometimes, elderly people do not have a medical condition but are just really frail and need help getting around. You can hire an aide who will help your loved one with their daily activities like showering, dressing, and moving about. If they suffer from a health condition that requires nursing care, you can hire a full-time nurse from a reputable agency to provide that. Make sure that the nurse you appoint has the proper qualifications, like a family nurse practitioner certification. Your medical insurance may even cover the appointment.
2) Make Adjustments to the House
Firstly, remove extra clutter and furniture from the house to make it easy for the elderly person to move around. Also, remove any rugs or carpets with raised edges that might lead to them tripping. The installation of grab bars in strategic places like in the shower and around the toilet can help prevent serious falls. Lay down non-skid mats in the washroom, kitchen, and other areas where there is a risk they might slip. You should also install nightlights around the house so that they still have visibility if they get out of bed in the middle of the night to use the washroom or get a drink of water. Make sure there are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in place that can sound an alarm and inform emergency services in case something happens.
3) Plan Regular Visits
If your elderly parent or relative is living alone, they are probably lonely and look forward to your visits. That is why it is important to visit them as often as possible. It shows them that you care about them and are willing to take out time from your day to see them. It will also be reassuring for you to see that they are doing well. If possible, take other family members along, like little children, to brighten up your elderly loved one’s day. While you’re there, you should also have a look around the house to see if it is clean and properly kept.
4) Regular Exercise
Exercise is important at every age but becomes more so as you reach your twilight years. The CDC reports that older people should spend at least 150 minutes each week exercising. Regular exercise can help keep them younger and protect them from diseases. Hence, it is important to encourage your elderly loved ones to incorporate exercise into their daily lives. Consult their doctor or a physical therapist to see what kind of exercises they can safely do without putting too much strain on their joints and muscles.
5) Encourage Social Activities
With the progression of age, you lose touch with old friends, and it becomes hard to make new ones. However, social activities are extremely important at this point in life to help overcome loneliness and lift spirits. Keep your elderly loved one involved in family events, whether big or small. If you have children, you can ask them to babysit. Encourage them to participate in group activities like book clubs. They can try something that interests them, like a cooking or dance class.
6) Provide Healthy Meals
Old age is when it becomes extremely important to eat healthily. Conversely, it also becomes difficult to shop for groceries and cook food. You can offer to cook healthy and nutritious meals for your loved ones that will help them stay healthy and live longer lives. You can cook at their place to involve them in the process or take them to your place for a family dinner that will lift their mood. If you don’t have the time, you can sign them up for a food service like Meals on Wheels that will provide them with healthy food at home.
7) Help With Chores and Errands
In their old age, many people struggle with their daily chores. Driving becomes harder or altogether impossible, making it hard to run errands. To make their lives easier, you can offer to help around the house by doing laundry, cleaning up, cooking, and mowing the lawn. You can drive them to their doctor’s appointments, pick up their prescriptions, and do groceries. If multiple people are helping out, make a schedule that equally divides responsibilities between them so no one has to bear too much responsibility.
Taking good care of the elderly is very important if we want them to have a happy and healthy life. It can be a little tricky if your family member has an illness that requires constant care, but you can hire an aide or nurse to help with that. You can also make adjustments to the house to minimize the risk of injuries and falls. Be sure to visit them often and help around with house chores. Encourage them to exercise regularly so they can stay active. Cook healthy meals for them or sign them up for meal service. Most importantly, help them socialize to alleviate their boredom, and they are bound to spend their twilight years happily.