Taking care of an elderly family member can be difficult, especially if you don’t have caregiving experience. As people age, they have an elevated risk of developing certain medical conditions, and the aging process itself can make it hard to perform everyday tasks. It’s admirable to step up and try to assist, but it’s also necessary to do some research and make sure you’re capable of providing the help they need. If you’re responsible for caring for an aging relative, read on to find out what you can do to make it as simple as possible.
1. Consider hiring a professional caregiver.
Sometimes, you might find that your loved one has needs that you’re unable to meet. It’s important to be able to recognize when you’re out of your depth, rather than trying to handle everything on your own and making the situation worse. If you’re struggling with caregiving responsibilities or your relative has a medical condition that requires specialized knowledge to manage on a day-to-day basis, hiring a professional caregiver could be worthwhile.
If your loved one has a disease or illness, like Alzheimers, they could need round-the-clock care. Alzheimer’s disease, like other forms of dementia, is a progressive illness that is marked by a continuous decline in cognitive, behavioral, and social skills. In the later stages, affected individuals have severe memory impairment and are unable to carry out daily tasks. In situations like this, working with a caregiver or nurse who has worked with Alzheimer’s patients before is probably the best option.
2. Take advantage of delivery services.
As your relative ages, they may not be able to handle cooking every day. You should look into whether or not they’re eligible for a meal assistance program in your area or if there’s another way to provide them with prepared food. Home delivered meals can make a huge difference in your loved one’s quality of life, and you can feel comfortable knowing they’re getting fresh and nutritious food, rather than relying on frozen meals.
There are also prescription delivery services, which can make it much easier to ensure your relative has all the medications they need. It can be hard for older people, especially those dealing with memory problems, to remember to fill their prescriptions. For some, illness or injury can make going to the pharmacy impossible. Prescription delivery services can bring their medication right to their doorstep.
3. Invest in home modifications.
You can make a number of tasks simpler for your relative to do on their own by investing in improvements that make their home more accessible. This can include upgrades like grab bars, elevated toilet seats, wider doorways that can accommodate a wheelchair, and lowered countertops. You can talk with your relative and their health care provider if you need more information to determine what their accessibility needs will be in the coming years. Labels can also be extremely helpful, especially if your relative is prone to forgetting things. Use words or pictures on cabinets to identify what’s in them or to label various dresser drawers. You can even make a copy of their morning routine and put it up in their bedroom or bathroom.
There’s a lot that goes into caring for people as they age. Their needs will also evolve as they get older, particularly if they have or develop any health conditions. Older individuals who are diagnosed with diseases like dementia can require a level of care that you may not be capable of providing. At that point, a professional caregiver is usually the most effective solution. Meal and prescription delivery services can take some errands off your plate, which benefits both you and your relative. You should also consider home modifications that could improve their overall quality of life and make their home safer and more accessible.