With many members of the Baby Boomer generation reaching an age where living alone is either a challenge or downright impossible, the need for elder care is increasing. Many families cannot afford the high costs of nursing homes or facilities that offer assisted living services. This has led to a rise in family members taking on the responsibilities of home care giving. Those who suddenly find themselves trying to balance work, families, and the tasks of caring for the elderly can easily be overwhelmed. These four tips of elder care will help both newcomers and experienced elder caregivers alike.
- Get Organized
A home caregiver faces a slew of responsibilities, no matter how healthy, ambulatory, and mentally alert the elder may be. One of these is incorporating an entirely new schedule into an established household pattern. A full list of doctors, past treatments, current medications, health conditions, and allergies should be kept in a safe place in case of sudden medical problems. A special calendar can be useful to keep track of the elder’s doctor’s appointments, prescription refills, and other activities. A file for official documents pertaining to insurance, any Medicare or social security benefits, and legal documents should also be kept up to date.
- Make Necessary Modifications for Safety
Older people typically have weaker senses and slower reaction times. Clutter should be eliminated from traffic areas, rugs that can present tripping hazards should be secured or removed, and handrails should be installed in helpful areas. The bathroom that will be used by the elder should receive especial care, as wet surfaces amplify falling dangers. Grab bars, elevated toilet seats, and shower benches can be priceless in preventing dangerous accidents and providing comfort. Outside the house, a ramp can be a great help to those elders with mobility difficulties, even if the elder is not confined to a wheelchair or reliant on a walker. Be certain any ramps comply with local requirements.
- Be Involved
Be sure that the elder resident does not feel like a burden in the house, but is kept involved in the household activities. Likewise, show interest in your elder’s life. Listen to and cherish memories, perhaps recording them for future reflection. Ask what tasks the elder would be up to doing and would enjoy. Pay close attention to any health complaints, as they can be clues to larger problems that may require medical attention. Someone who spends a lot of time in bed can complaint of a sore or itchy spot, and this can be the first sign of a serious bedsores. Communication and involvement are priceless.
- Respite for the Caregiver
One of the most overlooked needs in a houston home healthcare situation is that of the caregiver. A great deal of stress is involved in taking care of an elderly family member; emotional, mental, physical, and financial. Exhaustion is common, and life can seem like a rodent’s exercise wheel: always running, but never making progress. Local commissions or organizations for the elderly often offer services such as respite for caregivers, in which a volunteer will come and sit with the elder while the caregiver has some guilt-free time to go relax.
Caring for an elderly parent can be a challenge in many ways. Parents can resent the child taking a parental role in their lives, and can be stubborn about accepting care. Finances and schedules can become stretched to the breaking point. But the responsibility is a rewarding one, and families can grow much closer in the process with a little forethought and effort.