As an adult, you assume new responsibilities and accept new roles in your life. You prepare to become a good parent, which involves learning and accepting responsibility for the upkeep and upbringing of young people. You also become a caregiver to elderly relatives, and this involves looking out for their needs as their health and fitness slowly deteriorate. In this article, we’ll look at how you can best support elderly relatives as they enter later life – helping to make them happy, comfortable, and as autonomous as possible as they age.
The key concern with elderly relatives is how they will continue living and supporting themselves independently. You may not be able to provide the round-the-clock, every-day care that your elderly relatives really need; this means that you’ll have to consider other options to keep them safe and happy at home.
For instance, you might suggest that you move your parents into an annex in your own home. That way, you or your partner will always be at hand in times of crisis. You might also suggest that you help finance a live-in carer for your elderly relatives – someone who will be able to help them wash, clean, and care for themselves. Finally, there is the care home or elderly assisted living complex. These can be incredibly friendly, lively places – well worth considering for assisted living, too.
Most people age incredibly gracefully and take the new limitations placed upon their body with style and patience, despite the pain and upset that it might be causing them. However, there are some parts of an elderly person’s life that can be dramatically emotional – not to mention traumatic. These might include:
- Diagnosis with a serious and debilitating illness
- The loss of a lifelong spouse
- The inability to care for oneself on one’s own
- The loss of income and meaning provided by their day job in retirement
All of these factors can cause depression in elderly people, and that’s something that you should be willing to help intervene in. One huge way to support your elderly relatives is to ensure they’re seeing their physician regularly. This will help them keep on top of their mental and physical health.
There’s a wrongly accepted idea in elderly care that once individuals pass a certain age threshold, they essentially cease to live their lives to the full. Their bodies are shutting down, and their minds are slower than before. The understanding here is that elderly people slow down and barely live – and this is entirely wrong.
In fact, older people regularly report feeling like a young person inside, like a 21-year-old trapped inside a sagging and alien body. This means that their natural curiosity and spirit of adventure remains inside them, and a wonderful way to show you care for your elderly relatives is to invest in this side of their lives, helping to finance and organize trips and experiences that will keep them living life to the fullest.
Use these tips to support your elderly relatives better in 2021.