Helping Hand – 4 Tips for Care for an Elderly Relative

Care For An Elderly Relative

Providing care for a loved one can be a challenging task, particularly depending on the elderly person’s health and the relationship dynamics that have developed over time. Here are four tips to help you care for an elderly relative.

Keep Up With Their Physical Health

It’s easier to prevent health issues than to treat severe illnesses. Keeping up with their physical health not only saves time and money but also contributes to their overall well-being and happiness. This can involve various activities, from weekly tai chi classes to aged care physiotherapy or simply going for daily walks together. Engaging in these activities not only helps in keeping them mentally and physically fit but also fosters a warm relationship.

Create a Home No Matter Where They Are

Not everyone can age in their own home, and the decision can be complex, depending on lifestyle and financial considerations. As a caregiver, part of your responsibility is assisting in these decisions, possibly even financially. Regardless of where they reside—whether it’s their own home, your home, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home—you can make efforts to ensure they feel at home. Keeping their living space tidy to prevent accidents and adding items that bring them joy can significantly improve their environment. Aging is natural, but it doesn’t have to feel clinical. Infuse joy and remove clutter wherever they are.

Get Finances in Order

At some point, managing finances will transition into your hands as the caregiver. Understanding their budget, income sources, expenditures, bills, and insurances becomes crucial. Keep physical copies of important documents in a secure location for easy access when necessary. Being organized and finding a system that works can greatly ease the caregiving process. Additionally, reassure your loved one that you’re taking care of these responsibilities, understanding that relinquishing control isn’t easy for them but is a loving step you take on their behalf.

Share the Responsibilities

Providing care is a demanding full-time responsibility, especially when combined with an existing job. Balancing these roles can be a challenge, and seeking assistance is entirely acceptable. Arrange meetings with nearby family members to distribute responsibilities evenly. This not only helps in managing the workload but also benefits the elderly person by fostering connections with their loved ones. Don’t let your own health suffer; seek help when needed. Remember, caregiving isn’t a solo act—it often requires a community’s support.

Caregiving demands resilience and isn’t something we always anticipate, but these tips can guide you through this challenging yet fulfilling phase of life.

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Dr. Jade Marie Tomaszewski is a pathologist-in-training at McGill University, where she also did her degree in MSc Pathology. She obtained her medical degree (MD) from the University of the Philippines, after completing a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. In her (little) spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, curling up with a book and a large mug of tea, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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