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6 Ways to Support Elderly Relatives

As we get older, we typically need a little more assistance, but many people find it hard to reach out and ask for help. Conversely, family members and friends may feel that they don’t want to pry or speak out of turn by offering to provide care. If you want to ensure your family has all the assistance they need as they get older, take a look at these six ways to support elderly relatives:

supporting elderly

Visit as Often as You Can

Loneliness and isolation can be a major problem within the elderly community, particularly if your relatives find it harder to travel than they once did. To combat this, be sure to visit as regularly as you can and perhaps invite your relatives to visit you for weekend stays or special occasions. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult, or impossible, to spend time with loved ones, the vaccine rollout program is making it easier and safer to spend time with one another. Follow the guidelines and, as soon as you’re able to, make plans to spend time with your elderly relatives.

Teach Them to Use Technology

Although technology may not be quite the same as face-to-face interaction or giving your relatives a hug, it can be a great way to stay in touch. If you don’t live nearby, video chats and instant messages can help you to stay in regular communication with your loved ones. Furthermore, learning something new in later life is an effective way to keep your brain active. By teaching older relatives how to use technology, you can provide them with a vital source of communication and help to broaden their interests.

Consider New Living Arrangements

There may come a time when elderly relatives are no longer able to live alone. If a loved one has mobility problems or develops memory issues, for example, it may be unsafe for them to continue living in their own home. If so, you’ll need to consider what the options are, and which solutions can provide optimal care for your relatives.

You may want to invite your relatives to live with you, for example, but this could be unrealistic if you’re short of space or out of the house working throughout the day. Other options, like these luxurious Brandywine Living retirement communities, or live-in caregivers, could be a viable alternative that will ensure your relatives can access the care and assistance they need.

Talk to elderly relatives about what their preferences are and try to find a solution that works best for them. Although people are sometimes reluctant to admit they can no longer live alone, being proactive and presenting a range of options can be a good way to broach the topic.

Increase Home Security

Sadly, elderly people are often the victims of crime, particularly theft or property damage. Sometimes seen as ‘easy targets’, older people may feel vulnerable to criminals, which can have a negative impact on their confidence and peace of mind.

By helping them to increase their home security, however, you can reduce the risk of them being victimized. Installing exterior lights, doorbell cameras or CCTV can be a fantastic way to boost security and help elderly relatives to feel more comfortable and confident.

Offer to Attend Medical Appointments

Medical risk factors increase as we age, which is why elderly people may need to make frequent trips to their doctor or hospital. If your relative is being treated for an ongoing condition, for example, they may have regular checkups. Offering to attend medical appointments with them can be a helpful way of supporting elderly relatives, particularly if they struggle to remember what was discussed at meetings.

Similarly, helping parents or elderly relatives to manage their medications can be a weight off their mind. Automated medication dispensers are easy to set up and can be used to remind someone when to take their medication and how much to take, so be sure to consider what solutions you can implement to assist relatives in this way.

Help with Housekeeping

Daily tasks, such as vacuuming, grocery shopping and doing laundry, can seem overwhelming as you get older. If limited mobility or general aches and pains prevent your elderly relatives from completing these chores, offering to help could be a great way to provide practical support and assistance.

Perhaps you can do their grocery shopping for them when you do your own or accompany them to the store? Alternatively, you may be able to arrange deliveries, so that that groceries are delivered to their door.

If you’re not around to help out with these tasks yourself, you can still ensure that your relatives are able to access the help they need. By finding a reputable cleaning service or garden landscaper, for example, you can work with your relatives to set up a home maintenance schedule.

Becoming a Caregiver

As your relatives get older, you may notice that you take on more of a caregiving role. Although this isn’t unusual, it can be a difficult process to navigate, particularly when relatives are reluctant to accept help or ask for it.
Where possible, encourage older relatives to take the lead and ensure they retain as much control and independence as possible. While there may be times you need to be a little more proactive or insistent, letting older relatives make their own decisions is an important way of respecting their authority and ensuring they feel in control.

Caring for Yourself While Caring for Others

No matter how much you want to care for your relatives as they get older, it’s important to know what your limits are. Being a caregiver can be a physically and emotionally demanding role, which is why it’s essential to protect your own well-being too. By working with other family members to devise a care schedule and accessing support from outside providers, you can ensure that everyone gets the help and support they need while still providing compassionate care to your loved ones.

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