How To Help An Elderly Relative

Nobody likes to think of their parents or close family members getting older. In our minds, we’d like to keep them at the age they were when we were children. But, as we age, so do our parents. There may come a time when, due to health, we need to help them.

Most older people don’t need much help; many people manage to be self-sufficient and active members of society right up to their 80s or even 90s. And, as we’re living longer these days, it more likely that our families will be around for a long time yet.

But when they need help, what can we do? And what are the signs to look out for, to let us know that we should be helping out?

When To Help

Nobody wants their independence taken away from them. After a long and productive life, it can be hard to have to start relying on people for help with things that used to be a trivial and easy to manage. Often loneliness affects older people, as their friends and loved ones may have passed away and their social circles dwindle. Popping around for a cup of tea can make a big difference here, and encouraging them to take up new social activities such as joining a club might do them wonders for their health and happiness. If you notice a decline in the mobility of older family members, then offering to take them places can be a simple way of helping, in a subtle and non-intrusive way. If the person you are looking to support is becoming confused a lot of the time, or are disoriented, then this might be a sign of something more significant such as Alzheimers. Often, the early stages can be managed in the home with some support; however, where this becomes more severe, you may need to look at end of life care options, such as a nursing home, that can offer around the clock support and security.

How To Help

You can help out in many ways, and it might be anything as simple as taking your relative to the supermarket with you, to helping out with housework around the house. Jobs such as gardening and DIY may have become too much, and helping out here might be very useful. In more extreme circumstances, you may need to assist in bathing and to dress your elderly family members, as well as managing medication.

Managing Your Time

You will no doubt have your own life commitments to think about here. Who doesn’t? You might have a job and a family of your own to run around after, and working out how to fit everything in can involve careful planning. You will also need to consider the routine of the person you are helping out as much as you possibly can. Often, significant changes in a long-established routine can be very unsettling for people. If you have a partner, ask for their support and work together to manage your own lives and that of the person you are offering care to.

1 comment

  1. These are great ways to help out our elderly relatives, thank you so much for sharing! Unfortunately, the only family member we live close to is my dad but we do love being able to spend so much time with him!