People seem to have an unbalanced view of approaching elder care. Our elders are either sent to retirement homes or are ignored and left to fend for themselves. And while they do deserve, and need, a strong sense of autonomy, they also need our help. Without going into too much detail and debate on the quality of institutional care for the elderly, we present you this article. Here you can find some tips and some advice that will help you take care of your elders, while still helping them stay independent and autonomous.
This is probably the most important thing you can do help your parents or grandparents – contact. Listening to them, talking to them, being there for them, you will let them know that you care and that they matter to you. Too many senior citizens suffer from isolation and need as much social contact as they can get. This is especially exasperated by any chronic issues, from mental, like dementia, to physical, like arthritis. Contact with other people keeps their (our) brains healthy, and can minimize the chance of mood disorders, such as depression, from manifesting.
So, try to have a fixed time to visit them every week, and a fixed time to call them every day. Sometimes all you need is 15 minutes, just show that you are thinking about them. Furthermore, having a fixed time to do so means you are less likely to forget, and more likely to have it become part of your schedule. Keeping in contact with your loved ones can also help them feel more comfortable with their senior planning. Although a difficult discussion, being there for them will help them feel comfortable about finalizing their wishes, and ensure the financials are covered when the time comes.
Delegation is key
While we do advise you always be there for them, there is a point where you can only do so much. Running yourself into the ground, draining yourself completely will get you nowhere. For this reason you might think about hiring an aide, or some kind of helper. This person would assist your elders with their daily activities. They are there to help with everything from showering to simple home maintenance.
Change up their homes
You should take a good look around the home of the senior citizen you are taking care of, and see if there are any safety hazards. See if you need to install a ramp for wheelchairs or for walkers. Handrails are always a good idea, both in the shower, and near toilets. Auto-sensor nightlights can be useful as well, since they can start up if your parents or grandparents get up in the middle of the night. Non-skid mats in the shower or bathtub can be a godsend as well.
You can also make things easier by getting them some gadgets and appliances. For example, a fingerprint-based door lock that can help people who have dexterity issues and have trouble using keys. You can also get the useful 4G mobile medical alarm, which allows the senior citizen to send you an SMS if they’re in trouble. It also has an added benefit of atomically sending that SMS in case they fall. Getting a burner alert for stovetops can be a godsend for forgetful elders.
Help them keep active
A big part of maintaining your physical and mental health until old age is by staying active. Try to encourage them as much as possible to exercise (in whatever way they can). Anything from long walks, to cycling, to even a run, depending on their current level of fitness and health. This can be a perfect opportunity to bond as well. You can go on long walks, take this time to catch up, all the while getting some exercise.
You should also encourage them to stay mentally and socially active as well. Bring them some books, maybe buy them an eBook reader, drive them to their friends’ houses, and encourage them to hang out with people. These are all factors that help a senior citizen stay healthy.
And there you have it folks, a couple of ways you can boost the wellbeing of your elders. Above all, try to stay in contact with them. Call them, phone them up, and visit them. Just show them that you are thinking about them and that you care. Try to encourage them to be as active as possible. They should hang out with friends and other relatives, and do as much exercise as they are able. A simple walk in the park can do wonders. Just try not to burn yourself out, delegate some of the work, make their homes safer, and you will definitely see improvements in their wellbeing.