Caring for an older family member can be tough – especially if you have a family of your own and have to divide out all your attention whilst still giving the best care that you can.
As the elderly get older they have different needs that need to be met, and sadly when they start to lose mobility or mental health declines they are unable to take on these tasks independently and often need a family member there to help or support them. This is where you come in. It’s not always easy to care for an elderly relative however, but there are steps you can take to make life a little more easy for both you and your relative.
It can be difficult to find the balance of care for the elderly, and often leads to a dramatic change due to the role reversal taking place. If it’s a parent that you’ll be caring for, then it will likely feel odd that you’re looking after them instead of the other way around.
Worries about what will happen to them if they have to go into a care home, including who will pay for it and what will happen to their house. It can be a lot to take on, but it is best to ask the family member as soon as possible what their wishes are so arrangements can be made whilst they are still able to make important decisions themselves.
If your relative doesn’t live close to you then you may need to consider the option of moving closer to them or them moving closer to you. You may consider having them move into your home if it’s a possibility. The closer that you are to them, the easier it will be to look after them. You’re also able to get to them quickly if they need assistance.
Get extra help
Employing a carer is a very flexible way of getting help – it means your loved one can stay in their home and the carer attends as many times a day as needed. They can carry out tasks around the house, including personal care.
A carer is also a great way to get peace of mind if you need to go away on a holiday or a work trip. They also provide a much-needed and well-deserved break for you too, something that you shouldn’t feel guilty about.
Ask for Help
When looking after someone you essentially become a carer. And when you’re a carer, it is essential that you set boundaries. You must be realistic – you cannot do everything and no one should or will expect you too.
It’s okay to take a shortcut once in a while, and a great way to do so is pre-preparing food or buying ready meals that only need to be heated up. Doing this can be a great time saver and help keep your elderly relative feeling independent.
Diet is very important and it is not always possible to give elderly relatives all the vitamins that they need through food, so it’s essential to read up on supplements. Knowing the difference between fish oil and krill oil and which offers the right benefits for your loved one’s specific issues can really help. If the person that you’re looking after feels better because of taking supplements, it will make your life so much easier.
Taking care of a parent or a relative is a great way to know that they are getting the right care that they need. Essentially, you will know them best and they will likely feel more comfortable in your company. If you care for them you may not need to spend vast amounts of money on their care, and finally, if you can look after them whilst spending quality time and maybe form a closer bond that brings you closer together.