When you take on the responsibility of caring for an elderly relative, finding the right balance and being able to provide them with the best care can seem like a minefield. Especially if you haven’t had much experience looking after other people in such depth, the transition of their dependence upon you increasing can put a lot of pressure on your shoulders to commit yourself to doing a great job. Luckily with a bit of forward thinking and some hard work, you can break down the whole process into manageable aspects and improve your abilities of caring for your elderly relatives therefore improving your capabilities of providing them with a wonderful quality of life.
Acknowledge Their Personal Requirements
Each different person has their own requirements and needs in order to live a happy and comfortable life, and the first step you should take when providing them with care is to establish what is is they want you to do for them. Taking away independence from somebody who is still able to complete some tasks for themselves may mean that their health can deteriorate at a much faster rate. So, find out what your elderly relative is happy with doing on their own and work out what the remaining responsibilities are for you to take over. It’s also recommended that you get in touch with their doctor or healthcare professional in order to figure out any medical care you must source for them, and find out any other problems they might be having that they didn’t tell you about. Finding services such as Alzheimer’s support will help to take some pressure off you, and help them receive specialist care and advice for their coniditon. Giving them unique care will make them feel much more appreciated and satisfied in their day to day life, all because of your attentiveness.
Be Reliable & Dependable
Being a reliable and dependable care giver is one of the most important aspects of looking after an elderly relative, especially if they are vulnerable and rely upon you for many things. Losing your ability to care for yourself is a terrible thing to experience, and they will probably be feeling quite helpless on a regular basis. Making sure that you are always there for them should they need it is so vital, as they are most likely quite sensitive or vulnerable due to their age or health condition. If you cannot provide them with what they need, make sure that you give them an alternative way of sourcing whatever it may be to keep them relaxed and happy. Do not make them feel as though you are a burden to you, as they will feel terrible when asking you for things and no longer want your help, and their wellbeing could then suffer severely out of negligence. One of the best ways of keeping in touch with them whilst you continue to carry out your usual life is by buying them a very inexpensive and simple mobile phone, and adding your own number to their contacts and speed dial. Write down some very basic instructions for them to refer back to is helpful is they have a memory ailment, and it couldn’t be more simple for them to press your chosen number and reach you wherever you are.
A Healthy Lifestyle
The lifestyle that they lead will have a massive impact on their health, both mentally and physically. If its up to you to provide them with meals, do not cut corners just to save time or effort. An elderly person requires a nutritious diet to thrive and function, and it’s quite simple to make it happen. Make sure that you include raw fruits and vegetables in their snacks, such as a fresh fruit salad or carrot sticks and hummus, and include at least 5 portions in each daily meal plan. Add complex carbohydrates for a slow release of sustainable energy, such as wholewheat pasta and porridge oats, and avoid their less beneficial alternatives like white bread that can affect blood sugar levels negatively. Protein should be a staple aspect of their diet, and you should include lean meats like chicken and turkey, as well as oily fish, legumes and nuts to provide them with all of the essential amino acids they need. Provide them with some varied sources of healthy fats in smaller quantities, such as avocados and eggs a couple of times a week. Though they may want to sit inside all day eating biscuits and watching talk shows on TV, encouraging them to do a little exercise if they are able will really help them to feel better in many different ways. Getting outside for a short walk will allow them to get some fresh air, as well see a few different faces and sights ang get the chance to meet with and speak to some different people to keep their mind active too. Exercise is important for mental and physical reasons, as it helps to improve heart health as well as lifting mood and resolving some stress. Accompany them on their trips if they struggle with mobility, and motivate them by reinforcing their self belief and always letting them know that you are ready whenever they would like to go out. Even seated exercises will help to get their blood flowing and encourage the release of serotonin which will improve their mood notably and give them more energy for the day ahead.
Providing the best care for elderly relatives isn’t as difficult as you might have been originally led to believe. By just taking the time to speak with them and establish what they would like from the situation, you will be able to look after them in an efficient and positive way which they are comfortable with. Make yourself available to them if they need your help, and show them they you are happy to be there making their life easier. Encourage them to eat well and get moving, and organise regular health checks.