Caring for Elderly Relatives: Everything You Need to Know

There can be a lot of stress placed on a family as close relatives start to enter their later years. Those who used to be active and independent individuals might start to lose their confidence and energy as they enter old age. And old age isn’t only going to have an effect on them. Looking after your elderly relatives can be an emotional and time-consuming period. However, it doesn’t have to be as hard as you might think it could be. There are plenty of ways you can make it easier on your close ones and yourself. Interested to find out more? Read on for some of my useful tips to help you take good care of your aging loved ones.


Expect an Emotional Upheaval

As your elderly relatives enter old age, roles will be reversed. Instead of them looking after you, you will now have to take care of them. This can be a stressful change to come to terms with, especially when you need to look after elderly parents. One of the best ways to deal with this is to accept that things have changed. Your old roles no longer apply, and you will all have to live by a radically new paradigm. Don’t refuse to accept these changes and continue to live as you were. You could be putting your whole family’s emotions and relationships to the test. What’s worse, your elderly relative’s health could also be put at risk.

Home Adaptations

As your relative gets older, their home may need to be adapted. So that they are able to move around easily and use all of their appliances without any problems. Some things that may help include stair lifts and handrails outside the front door. Bathrooms are usually the first room to be adapted. Elderly people will find walk-in showers much easier to use than bathtubs. Shower seats are especially useful if your relative can’t stand for long periods of time. It is also important to get various safety features installed into elderly people’s homes. This keeps them safe and also gives you valuable peace of mind. Personal alarms help them notify you if they have an accident. If they don’t already have them, buy your relative some smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These will alert them if there is a fault in their boilers or if there is a fire somewhere in the property. If your elderly relative finds that their house becomes too big to manage, it might be time for them to downsize into a bungalow or smaller home. Alternatively, if you have the space in your home, you could get them to move in with you.


Allow Them Their Autonomy

If your elderly relatives are still able to run errands and enjoy a social life, then you should let them. One of the best ways to make caring for your old family members easier for everyone is to allow elderly relatives their autonomy. This way, they will still feel independent. Doing errands and small chores helps them to feel like they still have a role and responsibilities in your family. If they have mobility issues then talk to Pro Rider Mobility Scooters about how a scooter could help get your relative out and about.They will feel like they are doing you a favour, and will be happy about it. If they have weekly hobby clubs or groups that they regularly meet up with, they should go to these as often as possible as well. That way, they can continue to have a social life out of the house. If they are regularly catching up with their friends, their mood will be boosted, and there is no chance that they will suffer from loneliness.

Spend Time Together

As well as encouraging your relative to spend time with their friends, you should also plan some time together into your week. Time won’t ever stand still, so you need to spend quality time together before your relative passes away. No matter how ill or frail your relative gets, this time together is super important in reinforcing the love between you. Even if your relative is bed-ridden, simply spending time reading to them can make a big difference to them. Get as many other members of your family to also spend time with your relative. There’s no better way to show someone you care about them than by spending time with them.

Check Your Finances

Once an elderly family member becomes very ill or too sick to look after themselves, things can become very expensive. If they need specialist care, home adaptations, or need to move into an old people’s home, you might have to find the money for this. However, if your relative has a life insurance policy or private health care, these kinds of costs could be covered by these. If not, there is still no reason to panic. There are many benefits available from the local authority. Most of these are means-tested. That means the local government will check your household income to see if you are eligible for any funds. If you are, the amount you get will depend on how much your household earns. If you are all low earners, you should expect the maximum amount of cash. Don’t be afraid to mention the subject of money to your relative. They may have been saving for old age without you knowing. If this is the case, they will be able to give you access to their money so it can be used towards their care. 


Regular Doctor’s Appointments

Is your elderly relative living with a medical condition or illness? Then it is super important that they make all their doctor’s appointments. They should also take their medication as instructed. To ensure that they are doing so, give them their medication yourself. That way, you can watch them take it and can be happy knowing that they haven’t skipped a dose. Even if your elderly relative isn’t ill, they should still have regular checkups. Your doctor might be able to recommend products and ideas that can help make their life a bit more comfortable and easier to manage.
Caring for relatives doesn’t have to be stressful. Hopefully, this blog post will have given you some useful ideas to make it easier on your whole family.


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Manic Mama of 3, wife of shouty singer Gav, blog writer, stationery obsessive, bed jumper, Brighton based social media consultant and semi-pro juggler of it all!

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