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A Compassionate Guide to Caring for an Elderly Relative.

With the increased life expectancy, more and more people in the United States will start caring for their elderly relatives. This can be a stressful and overwhelming task for anyone.

Since it is such a difficult task, you may want to interview a home health care service to guide you through this process. It is important to make sure that your loved one is in good hands and they are getting the best care possible.

The caring of an elderly relative can be daunting but it doesn't have to be if you take into account these steps:

Make Sure They Understand What's Expected of Them

One of the most important things you must do as a family caregiver is to make sure your elderly relatives understand what is expected of them. This includes making sure that they take their medications as prescribed, that they're aware of upcoming medical appointments, and that they’re honest and open about their health.

Photo credit: Forbes Health.

Make Sure They Feel Like They're Supported

Many elderly are faced with challenges as they age that they have not faced before. These transitions can be scary and confusing for most. It’s important that as a caregiver you help ease their burden by supporting them through these different stages.

Offering assistance with medical care or general daily duties can make a big difference in their daily lives. It is also important for them to understand that you are available to talk about their challenges or provide additional resources that can help them when you are unsure of what to do.

Keep Them Safe and Secure

It is important for the elderly to keep their environment safe and secure, especially if they are homebound. There are different ways that people can do this. Some examples include installing an alarm system, getting an elder care aide, alerting the neighbors, and having a panic button nearby. Some families may look at putting their loved one into a nursing home so they get around the clock care. Whilst this can be highly beneficial and there are many care homes out there that are fantastic, there are still some that are not great, which can result in a terrible time for the elderly. If you have put your relative into a nursing home and they are raising issues with their care, listen to them. They could be being abused, whether that is emotionally or physically, so you may want to speak to Houston's leading nursing home abuse attorneys, or an attorney in your state, so that you can go over your next steps at tackling this. The elderly are in a vulnerable state, so you must do everything you can to keep them safe.

Stay Calm During Disagreements

Staying calm during a disagreement is a key skill that can keep a family together and avoid unnecessary drama. This is especially important if you're dealing with an older relative who might struggle with communication and social cues due to dementia or other health issues.

Being open, honest, but fair during disagreements while also allowing the other party to voice their opinion and thoughts will lead to better outcomes than refusing to hear the other’s point of view.

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Give Them Company

Elderly people often get lonely and need company due to physical and mental health issues. However, finding the time to spend 24/7 with them can be difficult. This is where other family members can come into play or different services such as respite or adult day cares.

Providing your elderly relatives with different options such as staying at home but having an aide visit them daily for a few hours or allowing them to experience an adult day care center a few times a week can meet their socialization needs.

Ensure Their Needs are Being Met

It can be difficult to understand what our elderly relatives' needs are and how you can meet them. Focus on the basics of hygiene, food, and shelter. Ensuring that their home is up to par, they have adequate food and water or a service that provides this to them such as Meals on Wheels, and are sustaining appropriate hygiene is key.

If they require assistance in these fields but you are unable to meet them due to your own family or work duties then obtaining the appropriate resources are necessary. This might include asking other family members to pitch in or may even involve finding a high quality home health care service provider who can give your loved one the level of attention and care they require.

Shin Min Ah and Kim Young Ok in Hometown Cha Cha Cha (2021).

Utilizes Resources as Needed

Resources that your family members need can include home health aids for simple activity of daily living assistance such as bathing and meal prep. They may also require the need for someone to sit with them while you are away to ensure their safety. These types of services can be found through respite care.

If your family member is at the end of their life and requires support and care through the transition then hospice services may be appropriate. Hospice of Northern VA suggests speaking with your family member’s doctor to determine appropriateness and if deemed appropriate, a hospice consult can be placed to move forward.

Caring for an Elderly Relative

Most of the elderly would be unable to live on their own. It is important that we make sure that they are properly cared for with supports and specialized caretakers. If you are involved with the care of an elderly relative following these tips should help guide their care in the right direction.

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