As people get older, they need more specialized care to help them through their days. If you’re taking care of an elderly loved one at home, you need to make sure that you’re setting both yourself and them up for success. Here are some tips to help you care for your loved one.
Don’t Do It Alone
While it might feel like you’re alone in the world, there are many people in the same position as you. In fact, 29% of the United States population takes care of a disabled, elderly, or chronically ill family member or friend. This is about 65 million people spending an average of 20 hours a week on care during any given year. There are supports and resources to help you settle into your new routine and make it work. Look into support groups and respite care options before you think you’ll need them. You should also stay in close contact with your loved one’s medical care team so that you know what kinds of medical care they’ll need in and out of the home.
Don’t Neglect Household Maintenance
While you have to prioritize your loved one’s health, you need to make sure that you both have a safe place to live as well. Keep track of household maintenance and figure out how to get the necessary work done. This may involve hiring other people to do household tasks or repairs. If you neglect your home, it can lead to expensive damage. For instance, you need to make sure that your attic is insulated correctly. Otherwise, you might get ice dams that can lead to expensive repairs. Plus, proper insulation can save you 10% to 50% on your energy bills. Keep household maintenance on your to-do list and don’t be afraid to ask for help in getting it done.
Accident-Proof Your Home
If your loved one needs care at home, they likely need the house to be more accessible than they did in the past. They’re also at a higher risk of falls or accidents. A household accident can lead to tragedy. In fact, in Texas, more than 11,000 people die accidental deaths every year. Take steps to make the house safer for your elderly loved one. Take their physical, mental, and cognitive states into mind as you look around and determine what needs to be changed. If you’re unsure, talk to their medical care team for suggestions.
Keep Your Loved One Active and Engaged
If your elderly loved one is used to having a level of independence, they might feel depressed in their new situation. Make sure that you’re continuing to treat them with respect and try to keep them active. Involve them in household decision-making and plan special events and activities for the two of you. These don’t have to always be elaborate. Trips to the library or park can be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon and they get your loved one out moving and socializing.
Look into activities for seniors in your area as well. If you have a senior center nearby, they will likely host events that would be a good fit for your loved one. This will give them an opportunity to socialize while also providing you with some support and a potential break when you need it.
Caring for an elderly loved one at home is a major commitment. However, it is worth the time and energy it requires. Take the time to set yourself and your loved one up for a good experience by considering both of your needs, both now and in the future. Use these tips to get started.