How To Help Your Older Relatives Take Care of Themselves (And Look After Yourself Too).

(image: RODNAE Productions: Pexels)

As we get older, so do our parents and grandparents. This comes along with new challenges, such as health problems that crop up and new aches and pains that make seemingly simple things more difficult. 

Eventually, it may reach a point where your older relatives need some help in their daily lives. This doesn’t mean that they can’t have any independence at all, but they might need some extra support. One of the tricks to helping your older loved ones is to find the balance between being helpful and completely taking over. 

Be Alert

As your family members start to age, it’s important to be alert to potential health conditions. For example, you may notice that your relatives are struggling to keep up with conversations or ask you to repeat yourself often. They might have suddenly started using closed captions when watching television, or turning the volume up. These are typically signs of hearing loss, which is a common symptom of old age.

If you’re alert to these issues, then you can mention them quickly and help your family to navigate through such challenges. The sooner that you catch something like hearing loss, the sooner that your relatives can get the treatment they need.

This is even more important when you’re concerned about a more serious health problem, such as dementia. If you catch a severe health concern quickly, then you can adapt your lifestyle and work out the best way to help your older family members. 

Practical Assistance 

There’s also practical, day to day assistance that you can offer to your family as they get older. Sometimes this means simply spending some time with your elderly relatives, as loneliness can become an epidemic for older people. 

It’s important that your relatives remain as independent as possible as they get older. Assistance devices, like stairlifts, are a fantastic way to allow people to look after themselves despite any new limitations. Stairlifts can allow older or disabled people to use their whole homes without any risks, and can also be helpful for carers to get those under their care up and down the stairs.

Cooking meals for your older relatives and offering them lifts to doctor’s appointments or other days out are small ways that you can make their lives a lot easier. Some people are resistant to asking for help, so you may need to offer to lend a hand.

Looking After Yourself

As the needs of your older relatives get more complex and demanding, you may find yourself transitioning to the role of a carer. This is a difficult situation for everyone involved, and it’s important that you don’t neglect your own mental and physical health. 

Self-care for carers prevents burnout or other issues that can negatively impact your life and the lives of those who depend on you. If possible, get help in the form of nurses or carers who can take on some of the hard work, allowing you to focus on being there for your family. 

This article was written by. a freelance writer.

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