For many children of aging parents or relatives, those who they once depended on now need them. It’s a trend that’s growing; a younger generation caring for their elderly relatives. It doesn’t matter whether you decide to have them live with you or they decide to remain in their present home, they will still need your time and help, as well as additional outside services.
Making the decision together
There’s nothing worse than living with the fear that an aging loved one may hurt themselves on their own. This is where you come in to offer empathetic advice. Many older seniors don’t see that they have a problem, though it’s obvious to you. The best approach is slow. Ease into the idea of searching for an outside care service that has on staff registered nurses who are familiar and comfortable with the task that lies ahead. After all, you will need this person to help your relative with things such as dressing, bathing, meals, feeding, administering medications and doctors’ visits. Having a qualified individual come to the home several times a week will lift a burden off your shoulders and offer comfort in knowing that your loved one is receiving adequate care.
Bringing the relative to live with you
Moving an elderly person who needs care into your home is a big decision that you should not make lightly. This will cause many changes to your home. If you have children and other obligations it can become overwhelming almost immediately. If you do decide it’s the best way to go, whether for financial reasons or simply that you don’t trust anyone else, you’ll need to make some changes. First, if you have a bedroom downstairs, that’s preferable to eliminate the need for climbing stairs. Secondly, if they take several medications and have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia you will need to make sure that they take the right pills at the right time and in the correct quantity. If the medications are in unmarked or in unreadable containers, you can use services such as a pill identifier to make certain that you know exactly what you have in front of you. In addition to a room downstairs and someone administering the medications, you’ll also need to add amenities to your bathroom like a grab bar for the tub or shower and possibly the toilet, if they have limited mobility. If they use a walker or a wheelchair to move about you may want to rearrange furniture to open up the spaces.
Keeping a social calendar
Whether an elderly person moves into your home or remains in their current dwelling, you will need to keep a senior active for good mental health. The good news is that places such as senior centers exist in most towns and cities. Restoring a loved one’s life back to as normal as possible is just as important as taking the proper medication at the right time. Activities will help keep them social and involved and give them something to look forward to. Many of these senior centers have functions a few times a month, some on the grounds and some day trips to things like the theater, movies, parks and craft shows. This is a wonderful way for your relative to feel normal and spend time with their peers.
If you have an aging loved one that now requires help from others make sure to get the services they need in place and to help them achieve as normal a life as they once had. This will give you peace of mind and help your elderly relative enjoy the rest of their life in joy.