Taking care of elderly parents is not easy. However, you must remember it is not easy for them either to rely on you or others for support. At the very least you can be as non-intrusive as possible and make them comfortable with genuine love and care. Let’s look at a few things you should keep in mind while caring for your elderly parent.
Health & Medical Needs
One of the most crucial things while caring for older people is handling their medical needs. You can start by preparing a list of all the medications and dosages. Try to be extra careful with medicines and administer as prescribed. You must not hesitate to ask the doctor about any medicine-related confusion. You should not alter medicines or their prescribed routines without first speaking to their doctor.
Older people are already having a difficult time. That’s why you must do your best to make them as comfortable as possible and take precautions to avoid unnecessary mishaps that can worsen their situation. Below are a few at-home tips that you can use to make their home as safe as possible.
Install non-slip flooring. It is common for older people to drop a cup of tea or glass of water. A slipping hazard is the last thing you want for them.
Fix grab bars in the toilets for additional support.
Avoid unnecessary elevations inside your home, especially if your loved one is in a wheelchair.
Declutter your house. Avoid rugs or carpets as an older person may trip over them.
Rearrange your furniture to make enough space for an older person to move freely using their walking aids or wheelchair.
Use specialized furniture like recliners for the elderly that can provide maximum comfort and aid physical problems such as back or knee discomforts.
Add night light to help older people get up at night to use the bathroom.
Always try to keep necessary accessories that an older person may need by their bedside. These include things like spectacles or walking aids. Doing so will further decrease their chances of falling.
Understand their Psychology
As we mentioned earlier, your elderly parents might not feel comfortable relying on others for basic things like daily chores or taking medicines. The person taking care of them must understand their psychology and act accordingly. You should encourage older people to care for themselves as much as possible. For example, if they can still feed or bathe themselves, motivate them in a non-intrusive way. You shouldn’t forcibly take over these tasks.
You should try to follow their lead and cater to their personal preferences. For instance, older people might only want their hair shampooed twice a week. So let them do it rather than imposing a daily shampooing schedule on them.
Work with the Family
Working as a caregiver for the elderly is more than just a job. You need to maintain an environment that is homely enough for them to feel comfortable and happy. This will require you to earn their trust as you might be taking care of a person who suffers from memory disorders like dementia or Alzheimers.
Taking care of older people might take up a huge chunk of your day, especially if you have a demanding day job. For the sake of your wellbeing, you must try to find time for yourself and ensure you eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise. This will help you manage stress and your emotional well-being in many ways.
As for children struggling to take care of their parents alone and finding it hard to make ends meet, it’s recommended that you seek help from family members or check out Medicaid programs such as CDPAP to look after your loved one.
Nitika is a content strategist with a degree in Commerce. A writer by day and amateur illustrator by night, she loves reading, pop culture, and marketing gimmicks. You may connect with her on Instagram.