When family members become older, their needs change. It can be frustrating and upsetting to watch your once-abled parents, grandparents or other relatives lose their independence or ability to care for themselves. Learning to care for older relatives isn’t easy, but there are things you can do to help make this process easier for the both of you.
Have the difficult discussion as soon as possible
As difficult as it can be, you need to discuss with your relative as soon as possible to work out the best solution for their care. Ask them to be honest about the challenges they’re facing and what the available options are. There are ways you can help older relatives to age independently while living with you or in residential care could also be possible solutions. Pick a good time to have your discussion and be prepared for it to be tough. It’s a bit of a cliche, but you will feel better for it afterwards.
Don’t ignore their wishes
While your relatives may not be able to move as well as they used to or are forgetful from time to time, while they’re still of sound mind, you should respect their wishes as much as you can. Even if they move in with you, they may still want some element of independence to come and go as they please. Remember that they are still adults and you can’t treat them the same as your children. Their needs will change as they continue to age, so make sure you revisit the conversation to ensure that they’re still getting the best care possible. Not all solutions have to be permanent and if they’re unhappy with things later down the line – let them know that it’s ok to change their minds.
Seek help and advice from professionals
There is a lot to learn about caring for older relatives that you’ll be experiencing for the first time. Their needs could be quite complex, and you may not be able to handle everything by yourself. You can hire nursing services to help you out while you’re at work or need some respite, as well as have them show you the best way of doing different things. There are services out there to help you with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, who can offer advice and training to make sure you’re offering the best care possible. Make sure you’re there for medical appointments so that you’re fully aware of the situation.
Looking after elderly relatives is a challenging time for you as well as them, so it’s important that you take some time to yourself and ease your stress. Maintaining a good routine is important, so make sure you adopt a healthy diet for your family that will keep your immunity strong during this tough time. Your family is important, and putting the right plan in place can help you make it through this difficult time.