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Most seniors prefer to age in place. According to recent studies, 77% of older adults, 50 years and above, want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. This is because aging in place allows them to maintain a sense of independence and dignity. It also promotes self-esteem, life satisfaction, and positive life quality, enabling them to remain healthy and happy as they age. But how do you ensure your elderly parent receives the best care, support, and love while aging in place? In this article, we highlight six helpful tips for caring for seniors at home.
1. Determine how much care your loved one needs
The first step to caring for your elderly loved one at home is assessing their current condition to determine how much care they need. This prevents you from taking too much responsibility too soon, which could result in becoming overwhelmed quickly or neglecting your health.
List daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks and responsibilities to get a clear picture of the type of care and help needed at different times of the day or week. Consider noting down each time your elderly loved one requests help with specific tasks to create a comprehensive list to plan accordingly.
2. Be reasonable about the type of care you can provide
While you may want to be there for your elderly parent every step of their aging journey, you may lack the ability to provide proper care. For this reason, once you have a clear picture of the care your elderly parent needs, you should determine the kind of help you can handle. If there are tasks beyond your capacity, be honest with yourself and your elderly loved one.
Being realistic about the type of care you can comfortably provide without compromising your physical, emotional, and mental health and other duties and responsibilities prevents you from taking on too much, which results in burnout.
3. Seek professional advice for caring for seniors
Suppose your elderly loved one has a pre-existing condition or illness, and you are unsure of the best way to care for them. In this case, you should consider seeking professional advice. One of the best people to speak to is your elderly parent’s doctor. This is because they are familiar with your older parent’s condition and health needs, so they can easily highlight what to be cautious about.
You could also consider consulting a geriatric care manager. Since care professionals have experience caring for older adults, they can advise you about how to help your loved one get the best quality of life. They could also highlight the changes to expect as your loved one ages and how to handle them.
4. Enlist help
Caring for your elderly loved one is a huge undertaking. It gets more challenging as your parent ages, as their needs increase with time. If you cannot handle everything by yourself, consider enlisting help. While hiring help can be expensive, it ensures your loved one gets the support they need when they need it, giving you peace of mind. The following are ways to get additional support:
- Involving your entire immediate family
- Hiring an in-home caregiver to help you handle household chores and errands
- Enlisting a visiting dentist instead of driving your loved one to a dental clinic
- Purchasing supplies in bulk to reduce errands
- Enrolling your elderly loved one in adult day programs to give yourself time to rest as they socialize
- Sourcing volunteer senior companions who are willing to visit and spend time with your elderly parent
5. Provide easy-ready meals
Your elderly loved one’s nutritional needs are highly critical, especially if they have a pre-existing medical condition. However, your elderly parents may not be able to shop for groceries or prepare and make their food. This, coupled with anxiety, depression, and lack of appetite, makes them vulnerable to malnutrition. Be sure to stock your elderly loved one’s kitchen with pre-made nutritious meals. This enables them to meet their nutritional needs and avoid skipping meals.
6. Take care of yourself
It is easy to get so caught up in caring for your elderly parent that you neglect your own needs. However, you must remain physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy to provide your loved one with the best care. Consider taking breaks, exercising, eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, socializing, and participating in fun activities. This reduces the risk of experiencing depression, stress, and anxiety. If you need help, do not hesitate to ask for it.
Caring for your elderly parents as they age in place does not have to be complicated. Assess how much care your loved one needs, be realistic about the help you can provide, ask for professional advice, hire help, and provide easy, pre-made meals.