One of the most emotionally complex and difficult things a person can experience is taking care of an elderly parent.
Very few people anticipate this task, some deny that it's coming. However, sooner or later, a bathroom fall or a doctor's diagnosis can thrust adult children into rolls of caregivers overnight.
Suddenly, you are thinking of how to pay the hospital bills and you're arguing with the insurance company on why some coverages were denied. Meanwhile, you're still trying how to figure out going to work and caring for your kids and home.
While we acknowledge that emergencies happen, however, planning ahead and getting equipped on ways to care for your elderly loved ones would keep you sane in the eventuality of happenings.
Let's see some ways below.
Make changes in the house
In a case whereby you plan on having your elderly ones plan in your house, you need to make changes in the house.
These changes, whether small or large can save you so much trouble. Get rid of excess furniture in the house. Remove clutter from corridors. Fix grab bars in the toilet and shower. Get anti-scald devices for their bathrooms. Ensure there are no loose wires or cables on the floors. Get non-skid mats for the bathroom and kitchen and nay other slippery path in the house.
The list may be endless. However, ensure you make changes tailored to their needs in the house just the same way you baby proof a house once the child starts crawling.
If your elders would be home alone or living by themselves, find ways to keep track of them. A mobile phone could do the trick if they are technologically savvy. A call every few hours would put you at rest. You could also make use of motion sensors to keep tabs on them.
Hire a Help
You may be living faraway and so may not be able to check on your folks every day even when you want to. In such cases, you may think of hiring professional help that you can get from assisted living if you're in Houston or its environs. If you're somewhere else, locate various agencies that would give you excellent service and ensure that you read reviews online before you hire.
Visit them often
If you live far away or close by, ensure you visit them as often as you can manage. The time you spend with them elders makes a lot of difference to them as they look forward to enjoying some time with you.
A few words of love and encouragement from you coupled with a little time spent together could lift their moods and spirits.
This would also avail you the opportunity to check around the house for any changes-unkempt house, mail littering the floors, plant not watered or any bruises or telltale signs of a fall.
It would hurt to visit with the neighbour too to build a good relationship with them so they can help you keep an eye on them.
While you may not be able to enroll them in a gym, ensure that they are physically active as this would help them to be healthier and stronger.
If they are sporty, encourage them to join a sport club nearby. Maybe golf, maybe tennis. Or even something as simple as a walking group. It would keep them outdoors occasionally and apart from the health benefits, it would make them feel better about themselves.
Be Careful with Medicines
This is also another dicey one. As they get older, they could mix up their medications due to poor eyesight, memory loss, drowsiness etc. What you can do is to label the drugs boldly with the instructions stated on them and put them in specific drawers, making it easy for them to locate them with little chances of mixing them up.
Have fun with them!
It's easy to forget how to have fun during this process. Watch Netflix with them and chill. Wear a goofy hat. Play dress up with their old clothes. Take loads of pictures, if they love it. No one knows them better than you do so do the things they love the most. The things you remember used to make them laugh and happy. Just do them and the weight that comes with being a caregiver would ease up. Also, the goofiness could make them forget their pains and distress, and add brighter colors to their lives.
Don't forget yourself.
It's so easy to get yourself lost in the process of caring for your elderly ones. Yes, you love them, however, you should also care for yourself too. If you don't take care of yourself, ultimately, you won't be able to take care of them effectively so make sure you also spend quality time away from them.
Yes, have fun away from them too. Rejuvenate yourself. Eat right. Take walks. Go for parties. Because as you do this things, you won't feel like your life is stuck on caring for your folks and resentment or anger or lethargy even, won't set in.
So, reach out and love your elders, whether family or friends. They loved and cared for you once upon a time-and still do-but now is your turn to look out for them. You will be glad you did your best to make their aging years beautiful and happy.