What To Do When an Aging Loved One Needs Care
When the health of an elderly relative begins to decline and assistance is needed, your family may be unsure about what steps to take. Everyone wants to provide the best care and keep their family member safe and happy, but balancing that need for a secure environment against your loved one’s desires can seem overwhelming at times. Here are four tips to help identify your elder’s needs and compassionately deliver care.
1. Observe and Address
The mental and physical effects of age-related decline can show up in a person’s appearance or the home’s upkeep. Activities of daily living are tasks considered essential to the health and dignity of the elderly. If a loved one begins to struggle in these areas, he or she may need help. The most common ADLs are:
- Functional mobility
- Toilet hygiene
- Bathing and showering
Review each of these tasks with your loved one and ask open-ended questions to uncover areas of concern. Once you become aware of an issue, you can make arrangements for assistance.
Meet with your loved one and discuss the changes that you’ve noticed. Ask how he or she sees living out the next several years and consider discussing the myriad options for home care Massachusetts. By involving loved ones in decisions that affect their care, they will be happier and know that you have their best interests at heart.
Some seniors desire to stay in their current homes, for example and are comfortable receiving outside assistance from family members or hired caregivers. Other seniors don’t want to live alone yet still prefer a residential setting. In those cases, consider adult foster care, which are homes in the community that provide services in a family setting.
3. Survey the Living Space
To keep your loved one safe, think about how physical limitations may require changes in the living space. As vision declines, for example, lighting in the kitchen and bathroom may need updating to perform ADLs adequately.
Extensive remodeling isn’t always required. Installing grab bars and a bench in the shower can go a long way toward keeping your loved one independent. Keeping aisles in the home clear of unnecessary items will prevent falls. Consider what is needed to perform ADLs safely and determine if the home can be equipped to meet those needs.
4. Ask for Help
Often caregiving falls on the family member who lives nearest to the loved one who needs assistance. If this is you, you are not alone. Schedule a visit with a local senior center and see what services it can provide. Some communities offer rides and homemaker services. There are many agencies and organizations, government-funded and independent, that specialize in eldercare as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
It’s not always easy providing care for an elderly family member. Utilize these tips, and you can determine what assistance is needed and how to deliver it compassionately.