During old age, adults experience age-related diminishes such as hearing loss, back and joint pain, imperfection comprehension, and loss of balance, to name a few. However, many seniors live joyfully even after these issues. How does that happen? It is due to the high-quality care provided to them.
It is not astonishing to find your elderly needing help in their old age. If you see one of your older loved ones need assistance in their day-to-day activities, administering their medication, etc., it is time to step up in your role.
With that said, providing care to seniors is not without challenges. More importantly, it is often quite difficult to select the best way to provide care and assistance to your elderly.
However, everyone at some point needs advice. So here are the best ways to care for a loved one in their old age.
Carefully decide between home care and nursing home
Nursing homes are professional care centers for the elderly. People who cannot provide the desired level of care to their older adults at home go to a nursing home. In an ideal situation, a nursing home provides 24/7 care to its attendees. They have medical staff on board to provide medical help in an emergency.
However, cases of nursing home abuse and the resultant nursing home abuse lawsuit are rampant. These lawsuits are filed to demand compensation for the mental and physical agony inflicted on older people in nursing homes. Considering these events, you might become skeptical about choosing a nursing home and favor home care.
On the contrary, if you are sure about the quality of service provided at a nursing home. Or someone from your acquaintances is already getting care there; you might be inclined to go forward with this idea. Ultimately, choosing between home care and a nursing home must be a carefully considered decision.
Asses the possibility of homecare
If admitting your elderly to a nursing home seems unsafe, caring for them at home is the second option., Work with your relatives to assess their needs. Decide what kind of help and care would help them the most. Depending on their physical and mental health, they may need help ranging from casual assistance with household chores at home to a constant support
You should also talk to your elderly to know how they want to be cared for. They need constant support if they ask you to help them eat, get dressed, wash, and walk. In this situation, hiring professional help is a good idea.
On the contrary, they need occasional assistance if they can perform most of their daily activities independently. You can visit them every week, help them with appointments with the healthcare provider, etc.
Devising a care plan after collaboration and discussion is always more fruitful than making decisions on your own.
Visit them often
Whether your parents or older loved ones reside in a nursing home or are under house care, spend time with them.
In old age, people become socially secluded and stay home. According to the Age UK study, more than two million people above 75 years say that they often spend a month without communicating with a neighbor or friend.
Loneliness in old age can cause severe depression and anxiety. Feelings of loss and being left out can creep in, making you vulnerable and unwanted.
More shocking is that even after feeling lonely, your elders may fail to reach out to you on their own, aggravating their predicament even more.
Make it a habit to visit your elderly, even if it means stopping by their room for a few minutes, saying goodbye in the morning, or sharing dinner with them. You can also occasionally ask how their care is going and if they need anything.
Ensure their involvement in their care decisions
People feel vulnerable and weak in their old age. On top of that, seeing other people making decisions for them may look light a blow to their self-respect. They may even become less responsive and resist their care plans. Therefore, when making decisions about their health and life, always include them in your care plans, discussions, and conversations with the doctor. This way, they will feel less dependent and more in control of their life. You will see that they are eager to follow through with a plan they are made part of.
Maintaining open communication also involves listening to your parents or seniors carefully. Don’t brush aside their feedback about professional help if you are hired one or the efficacy of their medication.
Make the house safe for your senior loved ones
Whether your parents or any other older loves one is living independently or with you, make sure the house is safe for their living.
Making the required home improvements decrease the chances of accidents such as falls and make the place more accessible.
If you are unsure what changes to make in the house, here are some suggestions.
- Install railings and grab bars in the bathroom, living room, and other areas
- Put skid-free mats in the bathroom, on the stairs, and kitchen
- Replace water closets (WC) in the bathroom with commodes, especially for older adults with knee pain
- Install ramps
- Add more lights to make sure the house is well-lit
Keep your loved ones active
Physical activity brings tremendous health benefits, regardless of your age. Older adults must engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for 150 minutes weekly.
Walking is one of the most manageable physical activities. One way to incorporate walking into your elder’s routine is by encouraging them to walk instead of using a vehicle for grocery shopping, seeing the doctor, etc., if the distance is walkable.
Playing with kids and pets is also a physical activity. If kids are in the house, let the elderly bond with their grandchildren, take them for a walk in the nearby park, buy Popsicles in the evening, etc.
If your loved one is suffering from a special medical health issue, such as osteoarthritis, better discuss with their healthcare provider about exercises suitable for them. Generally, such patients are advised joint-friendly exercises such as cycling, yoga, and swimming.
Caring for older adults bring strained families together, making them forget their skirmishes and come together to provide help for older people (parents or other relatives).
However, caring for your loved ones is challenging. Often you are not sure what kind of help they need. Apart from talking to them about their needs, you can use some tips mentioned above to ensure that your parents’ later years are spent safely and happily.