How to Best Care for an Older Loved One

When a parent or a loved one gets older they may have trouble getting around or develop illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. This can make it almost impossible for them to remain out on their own. If you’re considering looking after your elderly parent or an older loved one yourself there are some things you need do to make sure that they are healthy, engaged in life and safe.

Keeping track of medication

Most older people take several medications daily. It’s important to make sure that they are taking them each day in the correct amount and at the right time. Taking too many or not enough can have adverse effects on their health. Also, if they are in a pill box and they take many in a single day you may want to identify pills first to make sure that they are in the proper slot and that the dosage is correct. Older people who have the beginning signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia can often forget when they take medications and then take another one. This is dangerous. In order to avoid this, you may need to have your parent move in with you for 24-hour care or have a nurse come to the home a few times a day to administer the medications.

Healthy meals

If an elderly person lives on their own and has difficulty remembering things or trouble getting around they may not eat properly. Stocking the refrigerator once a week and dropping by a few times within the week to make sure they are eating is necessary. You may even want to have a food service deliver meals if they are truly unable to cook for themselves. This way you’ll have peace of mind that they are getting the proper nourishment each day.

Physical activity

When you retire and get older you tend to stay indoors more. This can mean that the already prevalent loss of muscle tone becomes more severe. It’s vital to an older person’s health that they get in some type of physical activity to keep their body functioning properly.  If they live nearby, taking them out once a day or several times a week for a long walk, to a gym or a senior center where they have many activities at their disposal is worth considering. Not only will it get their body into good physical condition, but it will also allow them to make friends, excellent for their mental health.

Family Health

Interacting with others

As stated earlier, many seniors when they retire, especially if they live alone, don’t get out often. This means that they are not stimulating their mind and basically wasting away. There are many places such as the YMCA or a senior center that can keep them in the loop of life and let them mingle with their peers and enjoy living. These places often hold dances, plan group outings and have many crafts and other activities to keep the elderly busy.

Bathing

If a senior lives on their own and has difficulty getting in and out of a tub they may opt to pass up on the bathing. This is not good for them. If you see that their appearance is deteriorating, you may need to help them wash each day. If you work full time and you’re an only child this may become stressful for you and your family. You can have a service come in and help with the cooking, bathing and personal care a few times a week. This will help you free up some time for you and it will also benefit your loved one in that they are receiving the necessary care that they need.

It’s not easy to witness a parent who once cared for you now needing the care themselves. But, unfortunately, it’s a part of life. If you are able to provide your time and the services an elderly person needs to remain independent then you’ll have peace of mind. However, if you can’t spare the time due to the fact that you work and are raising a family, it may be time to give careful consideration to putting them in a nursing home where you know they will get the care they deserve.

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