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How to care for older relatives at home

January 24, 2022

Older lady with carer

As people get older, looking after themselves and being independent in the home can become a struggle and help is often required to allow loved ones to live a carefree and happy life for a long as possible. For those who step up to look after an elderly relative or family member, it can be hard to know where to start or the best way to approach the situation, especially if you don’t have any care experience. In this guide, we look through some of the ways you can help care for loved ones in the right way, creating a positive and sensitive environment for them, keep on reading to find out more.

Get into a routine

Holding hands

One of the best ways to avoid stress and any unwanted anxiousness is to create a routine that suits both the patient and the carer and try to stick to it as much as possible. Whether you plan to visit them twice or three times a day, it is paramount that you stick to that as much as you can. Routine is really important as older adults can often feel worried and upset if their routine is changed without them knowing.

Try and visit them at least twice a day to help them with mealtimes, bathing, getting in and out of bed and just offering them a bit of company, they will appreciate this more than you know, and it will probably end up being their favourite time of the day.

Another important thing to do is to get yourself a key cut to their home, this way you can come and go without making them get up to let you in, but you can also enter the home in an emergency.

Get help where needed

Brushing older ladies hair

You’re not letting your loved ones down by asking for help when looking after them or caring for them in their home. If you have a full-time job and can’t make it to see them every day, asking for additional help is always a good idea, just to make sure they are cared for in the best way possible.

Another way you can get extra help in the home is to install aids into their home to help them move about whilst you’re not there to help them. There are so many aids that can be installed including sit to stand slings and stair lifts for the elderly.

Jo Boyne, blogger at A Rose Tinted World spoke a bit more about adding aids to the home when caring for elderly relatives: “I do think that helping your older relatives stay in their own homes is so much better for their mental and physical health. But it is wise to ensure that they have easy access to everything they need to help them stay more independent. Whether that be installing ramps, handrails, stairlifts or a walk-in shower – all of these things can really help our older relatives to stay safe in their own homes. Over the past year, one of the things that has been a lifeline between myself, and my parents has been a mobile phone. Having the ability to call or even chat face to face has been a godsend, and it is good to know that they can get in touch immediately if there is a problem.”

Petra a blogger at A Mum Reviews recommends moving furniture around the home to help them move between rooms, she comments:

“When you have an elderly family member that you’re looking after in your home, you will most likely need to make some alterations to help things go smoothly and be safe. It’s a good idea to walk around your home with your elderly relative and see which areas cause problems – are some things hard to reach, difficult to do or simply not safe? Make notes and make the additions and changes to help your loved one be able to live as independently as possible in your home. It could be things like moving furniture out of the way, adding a handle to the wall or something bigger like installing a stair lift.”

Be flexible, patient, and sensitive

Holding a walking stick

One of the main things you need to think about when caring for elderly relatives or friends in their home or yours is to be patient, flexible with your time and above all sensitive to how they may be feeling. Having to ask for help may make older people feel like they have lost their independence, so make sure you don’t overcrowd them, get angry with them or be impatient when they may be having a bad day.

Sit back and try to understand how they may be feeling and offer them a shoulder to cry on or a face to talk to whenever they need it, as well as helping them with the other activities they may require help with.

Learn as much as you can beforehand

Older and younger lady

If you are new to caring and have never cared for a relative or elderly member of the family before, then it is probably a good idea to try and learn as much as possible beforehand to give you a better chance at offering the best care you can.

Handicare USA offers a plethora of tips, blogs and guides to help you if you are having to care for a loved one and want some more information or advice.

If you’re having to care for someone who is elderly, then hopefully this guide has given you some tips on how to offer them the best care possible.

 

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