Health

How To Look After Your Older Family Members

(Last Updated On: 18/12/2023)

The sad part about life is that we all get older and we often find ourselves caring for other family members. If you have noticed that some members of your family are needing some extra help, there are some things you might want to think about. Here are some ideas to help you care for the older members of your family.

Check-in on them

When you get older, it can be very lonely. If you have drifted from your family because everyone is so busy, you need to try and make an effort to see your family when you can. This is especially true if you have older members that don’t get out often. It can be a bit weird popping around to see them at first, but once you get into the habit, they will look forward to seeing you. If you can, try and bring them some photos (or your laptop with a bigger screen so that they can see) and share your latest adventures with them. If you can keep it to a regular time during the week, they will appreciate that even more as they will know when to expect you.

Can they cope at home?

As wonderful as the world is with all of our advancements, it is still important to assess if they can manage on their own. Adapting their house might be an option but if you still think this will be too much, you might need to consider a good care home. Though a move to a senior living facility is a big decision to make, if your older family member has specific care needs, or requires round-the-clock care, it can be a wise decision to move them to a facility that prides itself on its assisted living services.

Additionally, these days, a lot of these places, such as The Chelsea at Brick senior living, also have a great community of people that will allow them to make new friends and join activities that they will enjoy. This can be especially important if your relative often struggles with feelings of loneliness or isolation. As such, if you can, have a chat with your older family member about their feelings and care homes to see if this is something that they would be interested in further down the line. Of course, you can help them out as much as you can, but when it is getting to be too much, you might need to think about other options.

Prioritize their needs

Schedule regular check-ups with healthcare professionals can help monitor their physical health. Ensure they also have time for active mobility exercises to get their body working and reduce mobility problems. Additionally, pay attention to their mental well-being. Sometimes, older individuals may require assistance with memory, cognitive functions, or emotional health.

Ensure your older family members have a balanced diet and stay hydrated. Sometimes older individuals may have difficulty cooking or forget to eat, so having a meal plan or assistance with meal preparation can be beneficial. 

Additionally, ensure your older family member’s living environment is safe and accessible. This includes removing tripping hazards, installing bathroom grab bars, and ensuring their home is well-lit. This will also include checking in to see if they are able to keep their residence clean, if they can’t then consider organising to have it done. If they live in a dirty environment, they’re more likely to pick up a nasty bug from bacteria growing on surfaces. Book in a cleaning service to give the place a sweep or have a company offering a commercial carpet cleaning service in Denver, CO (or elsewhere more relevant) booked in to fumigate the most common vector for germs. Beyond the cleanliness, you should check out for any risks they might have in their day to day lives. Have a clear plan in place for emergencies. Make sure they have a way to contact you or other family members quickly. If they no longer drive or have difficulty with transportation, explore public transit, ridesharing services, or arrange carpools with family members.

Stay informed about your loved one’s medical condition, medication, and treatment plan. Help them manage their appointments, prescriptions, and any necessary medical equipment. Moreover, ensure their financial and legal affairs are in order. This might involve helping them manage their finances, setting up automatic bill payments, and discussing topics like wills and advance directives.

Listen to their stories

On the back of our first point, if you are spending time with your older family members, listen to what they are telling you. There is a chance that they have plenty of stories to tell and would love to share them with someone. If they will allow you, record them telling the stories. It is a wonderful thing to have a recording of a family member, and your kids and grandkids might find it interesting to listen to their great-great-grandma talk about the wars and growing up in the 20th century. You might even find out some juicy family gossip and the hidden history that has been forgotten by everyone else.

There you have it, some ways to help look after your older family members. Of course, you can do a lot more on this list if you can and if you think it would help. But always remember to listen to what is being said and their wishes so that you don’t overstep and take over.

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