Thinking about taking care of elderly relatives isn’t something that’s always top-of-mind. However, it’s something that all of us have to face at some point, and it’s better to be prepared than not know what to do. When it comes to aging, it’s up to younger members of the family to devise a plan to help their elderly relatives age with grace and dignity. Here are some suggestions to ensure your family members get the best care and support.
1. Consider Their Specific Needs
It can be tricky to work out what your relatives need, but one of the most important things you can do is have those discussions with them. Sometimes your loved one may have a clear view of what they need, and sometimes they won’t. When they don’t, it is better to speak to a professional. Think about needs like medical care, hygiene, mobility, family support, cognition, nutrition, and home safety.
It’s not just their needs that you need to consider, though; you’ll also need to figure out how much you can help. Could you help with finance? What about personal care? Would they live with you, or would it be better for them to go to a care facility? These are challenging but necessary questions to help determine what really makes sense.
2. Have Discussions About Finance
If there is one thing that can get challenging quickly, it is the financial situation. Some family members are ready to go to bat to get an inheritance, while others don’t care. Not to mention the ongoing costs of care and a care facility.
Before making any big decisions, it is wise to look into legal support to have wills, power of attorney, and more. It is also worth keeping in mind that there are people who may try to take advantage of your elderly relative, especially when he/she is at their most vulnerable. To avoid this, it may be a good idea to hire a financial elder abuse attorney.
All the financial details are better to be worked out sooner, rather than waiting.
3. Prioritize Home Safety
Balance and mobility become two of the biggest challenges for the elderly, and it is essential that if the person wishes to age in a place, they can do so safely. Handrails, stair masters, easier-to-use cupboard handles, and more need to be considered. Switches, plugs, buttons, and all of those things become infinitely more difficult with things like sight issues and arthritis.
Clearing clutter and rugs can all be of huge benefit too! Whether you decide to do this on your own or hire a professional, ensuring a safe living environment is key to success, health, and happiness.
4. Be Sure To Have Clear Communication
If your elderly relative chooses to age in place, then having instant communication is a must. Some wearable buttons can trigger alarms for emergency services, and friends and family, too. But outside of emergencies, there should be open lines of communication for emotional health and wellness, too.
Both loneliness and isolation have detrimental effects on mental and physical health, so it’s important to have people on call but also visiting and checking in. Pre-programming essential numbers into a mobile phone can be very useful for quick access when needed, too. Make sure the phone is fully charged every time you visit and all the numbers are still correct. Be sure to test them once in a while, too!
Taking care of the elderly can be exhausting work as their needs increase, but there are support networks, financial support, and more that you can access. Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way, too.