As we age, we become less independent, less mobile and need more help taking care of ourselves. If your parents or another relative has got to that age where they need extra help, you might be wondering what the best way to approach the situation is.
It can be hard seeing someone that you care about struggling to cope on their own, and even harder knowing how to deal with it. But it’s important that you find a way to talk about the situation with them. So that you can ensure that they get all the help that they need and are well looked after.
Aging isn’t the nicest of processes; no one wants to admit that they are struggling to cope on their own. So it’s important that when you approach the topic, that you go about it in the right way.
Mention to them that you are worried about how they are coping on their own and see what they say. They may get defensive, and try to argue that they are fine, or they may admit that taking care of themselves has become hard. Either way, it’s important to hear them out, so that they feel listened to.
However they react, make sure to be kind but firm with them. Explain that although they will still have their independence, they do need a little bit of help. It might take some getting used to, but they will adjust to the changes, and believe it or not, be happier for them.
Decide whether to care for them yourself or hire a nurse
The next thing that you will need to do is consider who will take care of your family member. If you have the time and patience to do it yourself, that’s a good option. If, however, you feel that it would be better if someone else took care of them, you could look into hiring a nurse.
That being said, it’s important to remember that getting private help will be pricey. So you might want to think about the financial side of things before you go down this route. Who would cover the costs, you or your family member? Are the fees affordable?
Think about the type of help they need
Take some time to think about the type of help that they need. Think about what they are struggling to cope with, and go from there.
If, for example, they are struggling to keep up with the shopping and cooking, perhaps you could have ready meals delivered? Or, if it’s the laundry that they are struggling with, maybe you could hire a laundry company to help out?
If your relative is struggling with a lot of tasks, including their personal hygiene. It might be worth thinking about getting them full-time help. As mentioned above, you could hire a nurse for this type of care, depending on whether you would rather care for them yourself.
Make life as easy as possible for them
As well as getting them the help that they need, or helping them yourself, make life as easy as possible for them. This means ensuring that their fridge is fully stocked with food – this can be homemade or shop bought. That their laundry is taken care of, and their bedding is fresh.
It’s also important to make sure that they have all the essentials for keeping clean. This should include incontinence wipes, soap, shampoo, and conditioner. It might also be worth considering putting a grab bar in their bath or shower, to prevent them from slipping.
Being told that you need to have someone help you with tasks that you used to be able to do yourself is never easy. So it’s important to be understanding for how your relative feels, as they are probably struggling to come to terms with all the changes.
Taking care of an elderly family member isn’t an easy task. However, by following the tips above, you can make it a little bit less stressful for both you and your relative.