Caring for elderly parents or relatives isn’t something we really want to have to think about, but it’s good to know what to expect and how to prepare.
Caring for Elderly Parents or Relatives Through the Challenges of Ageing
~This is a collaboration post.
Unfortunately, despite your deepest love, and despite the absolute injustice of it all, aging can bring with it some very challenging considerations. We needn’t list them all here, out of respect for those currently suffering. While a mental condition or a physical malady in no way reduces the quality or beauty of your elderly relative as a person, caring for them through the challenges of maturation can be an excellent effort to do.
With our tips, we hope to give you the tools to make it through this troubling period. Here are some ways you can help with caring for your aging parents or relative.
Often, being present and there for them is ten times better than only being halfway involved. Of course, we all have careers and families. Our relative will need our time most until systemized support is available.
If you have other responsible adults in your family, it might be worth asking to share the load with them. Even if you can’t be with them, multiple calls a week can help them feel settled and able.
Remember, there are some aging conditions that often prevent us from keeping that same level of recognition and intimacy that we might have enjoyed beforehand. Patience is important!
Unfortunately, sometimes caring for an elderly relative is a thankless task. However, it’s important to remember that while your elderly relative might not have the means to express their gratitude, they really do appreciate it!
Finding The Right Care
It’s important to find the right care provider for your elderly relative. There are several different options. You might choose a retirement community with advanced capabilities to help with dementia care. This can be a fantastic option and preferable to simply signing with a retirement community without these facilities.
Finding the right care is important. It’s important to discover more about the potential retirement community. Do not just depend on what is written in the brochure. Read every facet of their website, try to meet some of the current guests. Go for more than one tour of the facility. Make your express needs known. Ensure that their pricing system is reasonable and affordable for you.
Also, you might ask for the credentials of the medical staff on hand. Ask them how involved they are. You might ask what kind of medications could be prescribed to your relative, and how that process works. Finding the right care can take a huge load of your mind, but only if you’re willing to search for it.
For example, some facilities might have an art day every week, or perhaps schedule activities designed to help your struggling relative feel more like themselves on a daily basis. The best care homes will know how to communicate to your relative, how to view them as a friend not just a patient or current tenant, and will strive to create this community as accepting and beautiful as possible.
Do What You Can
You might not be able to visit your relative every single day. The best entertainment may not be available to them. You might struggle to bring your family to visit all the time.
What matters is doing what you can! As long as you know that you’ve given your best effort, it’s enough. Taking a walk with your elderly relative and a whole morning spent with them once a week can be absolutely rewarding for both of you. Just taking a measured pace and caring for each significant task you fill out can help the progression of this period feel excellent, and give you a joint feeling of comfort to strive for.
Remember that whatever you can give, your relative will appreciate. They are a priority in your life, but a priority among a list of priorities. But for them, you will be most of their world.
Sometimes eschewing other priorities such as overtime at work, or perhaps indulging in that hobby can take a second place to your relative and their care. Cherish the time you have with them because sometimes that time is not guaranteed in terms of length or ability.
Be flexible. There may be times that the care facility recommends they have their rest and you reschedule. If you know you can trust the professionals there, take heed to their suggestion.
Help Them Remember
While not all afflictions the elderly suffer from will affect memory, the process of aging can sometimes take away our memories from us. If you can, help them remember!
Bring along items from their life that they can remember and relate to. Show them a photo album, an heirloom, or an item of clothing. Try to help them remember their cherished memories by exploring their past with them, laughing with them, and bonding over those memories.
While the present reality of many elderly people can be considered quite difficult, they will likely have lived a full life worthy of returning to at any moment. Helping your relative develop this in your presence can give them confidence, a sense of gratitude, and a true sense of personal meaning. For some conditions, it might be that the next day you meet them, you might have to do this all over again. Of course, while this sounds repetitive, sometimes the joy this can bring your relative might make that process more than tolerable to continue with day after day, but of course, do what is best for you and your family member.
Know what medication your elderly relative has to take. This knowledge can help you understand the effects, know the dosage, how to measure this out, and you’ll be able to see how well it’s working. This can help you act as a second opinion, and sometimes challenge the recommendations of the medical staff if it’s having an adverse effect. Taking responsibility might be necessary, just in case your relative struggles to manage that themselves.
With these simple tips, caring for your elderly relative through the challenges of aging is sure to be effectively and delicately handled.
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Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!