3 Things to Consider When Caring for the Elderly

When caring for the elderly there is always a tension between what they say versus what you say. The physical and mental changes that come as one ages are difficult to overcome. One moment they are living their lives and calling the shots and then the next moment they can’t walk as far or remember as much. It is unsettling, and relationships get reversed overnight.

Traditionally, the elderly are cared for by their families and in most parts of the world, this is still true. However, not everyone is in the best place to care for them. It could be that the environment is too crowded, or the facilities present too many threats. Sometimes it is best for them to stay where they are and simply adjust accordingly. Elderly home care, which can be visiting or live-in, preserves their independent lifestyle best. There are three things you need to pay attention to when caring for the elderly. The environment

The home plays an important part. Avoid stairs and other floor obstructions which may lead to falls. The bedroom should ideally be on the first floor or install a chair lift that allows them to move between floors with ease.

If the elderly will be living with family, have a designated play area to minimise stray toys that could possibly lead to injuries. It is also best to remove harsh colours and patterns and isolate sources of loud noise. These could lead to anxiety or agitation which affects their overall health.

The environment should also be ready with equipment needed for emergencies such as emergency response systems, grab bars in the toilet and shower, a bath bench, rollator, lift chairs, waterproof mattress, and single lever taps.

The people

They need to also be surrounded with people who are patient, so as to not let them suffer from low self-esteem. If they are constantly undermined it does not help their emotional and psychological state. Living with others will be a challenge for someone who was once completely independent. Anything that highlights their dependence and lack of ability should be avoided.

Open communication is encouraged, and hopefully, there is mutual respect and trust for cases where the elderly can no longer make medical or legal decisions.

The control

Although a lot goes into caring for the elderly, the biggest issue is deciding who is in control of what. As much as possible they should be independent. However, when it comes to managing medication, diet, and participating in activities that pose a risk due to their age such as driving and running errands alone, this must be done with assistance from the family caregiver or home health agency carer.

This might be confronted with a lot of opposition, as the stubbornness they exhibit stems from knowing what they could handle before. When a person ages it is a balancing act between what they can handle on their own and what they cannot do. Sometimes an outsider knows more about the best way to go about certain activities (managing diet and check-ups) but at the same time we should never underestimate them. The ideal situation for elderly care is finding that balance. It may not be achieved immediately, as new routines and relationship dynamics all require time.

Image: Pixabay.com