Caregiving for a loved one is a daunting task depending on the health of the elderly person, not to mention the relationship shared by the elderly and caregiver up until now. Here are 4 tips to help you care for your elderly relative.
Keep up with their physical health
Preventative measures are always easier than treating a severe illness, so keeping up with their physical health will save you time and money in the long run, not to mention keep them fit and happier with a higher quality of life. This can look like anything from weekly tai chi classes to aged care physiotherapy. Even daily walks can offer freshness in life. Activities done together like this can be a great way to keep their minds sharp, bodies fit, and your relationship warm.
Create a home no matter where they are
Not everyone is able to age in home and each situation is unique. Depending on lifestyles and finances, the choice is a hard one to make. As a caregiver, it is your job to help make these decisions since you may even be footing the bill. But if your loved one lives in their home, in your home, an assisted living place, or nursing home, you can help them feel at home. You’ll want to keep their area nice and tidy to prevent falls and create order. Also keep things that bring them joy around to brighten their space. This can be done in a nursing home or even the living room you grew up in depending on your situation. Aging is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to seem clinical. Bring in the joy and get rid of the clutter!
Get finances in order
There comes a time when number crunching must be passed onto others, and if you are the caregiver in charge, you are now in charge! Become familiar with their budget, where the money comes from and where it is going. This goes for bills as well as insurances. Keep physical copies in a safe space so you can access it when needed. Just a passing “I think they are in the guest bedroom drawer” in conversation won’t work when you need them in a jiffy for whatever reason. Caregiving is so much easier when you get organized and find a system that works for you. Don’t forget to reassure your loved one that you are taking care of things. Giving up responsibilities they have always had isn’t easy but this act of love is an important one to take on when the time comes.
Share the responsibilities
Caregiving is a full time job, and for many caregivers, they already have a full time job. This balance can often be a struggle depending on the demands that continually change as our loved ones age. That is why it is ok to ask for help. If you have family nearby, set up a meeting and dish out the responsibilities so everyone has an even plate. This is even more rewarding for the elderly as they get to benefit from the relationships with people they love and see often. Don’t let your own health deteriorate as you care for others. Do what you can and get help for the rest. That saying “it takes a village” doesn’t end with childhood.
Caregiving isn’t for the faint of heart and often we don’t even expect that time to come, but these 5 tips will keep you going in this hard but rewarding season of life.