If you’re the primary caregiver of your elderly parents or grandparents, it’s a huge responsibility to have on your shoulders.
Often, the needs of the elderly population are straightforward, but extensive. Older people might need help washing and eating, or they might just need some emotional and social support.
As the relative of a senior, it can feel like you’re not doing enough. You might already have great systems in place to make their lives a little easier, but you’re always on the search for ways to improve these systems.
New technologies are constantly being developed and your loved one’s needs can change over time. Adapting and adjusting your caregiving is important to ensure their individual needs are being met.
So, how can you best support your elderly relative to boost their quality of life, and keep them happy and healthy.
Modify Their Home
If your relative lives on their own, they might benefit from a number of home modifications.
Best medical alert systems for seniors will enable your loved one to get in touch with professional medical personnel at the touch of a button. If they feel like they’re in danger or they’ve been injured, they can activate their alarm system and get immediate help.
Personal safety systems can be easily installed into the home and they’re simple to use. Even if the senior relative is hard of hearing or has poor sight, they will be able to operate the system without difficulty.
You can also get handrails installed into their home. This is ideal for those who have limited mobility or poor balance.
Handrails can be placed in kitchens, bathrooms, and hallways to make movement around the home safe and easy. Your loved one can grab onto them for extra support so they don’t fall over.
As much as you’d like to be, you can’t be with them 24/7 and you might worry about their safety when you’re not there. Home alarm systems are perfect to enhance security for your relative.
These security systems will sound the alarm if somebody tries to enter your relative’s home unauthorised. Nearby neighbors can help out until you’re able to get there.
See Them Regularly
Elderly people often feel isolated and lonely, especially if they’re living alone. Taking the time each week to go around to their house and see them can make a huge difference to their mental health.
You might want to go and make dinner for them each day after work or you could spend a few hours every Sunday afternoon catching up with them. Regular contact is important to reduce loneliness and depression.
Get Professional Help if Necessary
It’s always nice knowing you’re doing everything you can do to support your elderly relatives. But sometimes extra help is required.
You want your parents or grandparents to feel sale and content at home, and this might mean having to make additional arrangements. Make an honest assessment of your relative’s needs and consider what kind of help might be necessary.
For example, you could arrange for community-based nurses to go round each morning and help your loved one wash and dress.
You might want to arrange for a meal-providing service to drop by every evening. They can create pre-made, well-balanced dishes for your elderly relative. This saves them having to cook their own food, which can be a challenge if they struggle with balance or strength.
Keep An Eye On Their Health
Aging comes with an increased risk of a range of diseases. As the primary caregiver, it’s important that you keep an eye on how your loved one is, both physically and mentally.
Spotting any tell-tale signs of disease as early as possible gives them the best chances of overcoming any illnesses and making a full recovery.
If your relative has regular visits from the district nurse, ask them to provide you with updates each week. Stay in the loop when it comes to your loved one’s care.
The same applies for their mental health. Be observant with how they speak and act. Look closely at their behavior so you can spot any significant differences. Rapid changes in actions and behaviours are a key indicator of cognitive decline and dementia.
If you notice any negative changes in your loved one’s demeanour, alert the community nurses or local doctor. This ensures they can get the right treatments if they are diagnosed with a health condition.
It’s never nice thinking about your loved one becoming ill but catching things early on can give them the best chances of survival.