Never allow them to feel like a burden on you by mocking their poor health or their dependency on you.
Having elderly family members at home can be quite comforting for young couples and a nurturing experience for the children. Their worldly wisdom and unconditional support can help keep the family together through rough times. However, it is important to understand that besides relying on them for moral support, one must offer them the emotional and medical attention suitable to their age. This is applicable even to the elderly parent who is healthy and active.
Tips for taking care of the elderly at home
#1 Understand their needs
Some elders are self-sufficient despite their age. They can conduct all their daily activities and help around the house as well. However, there are some who may need help with certain activities such as climbing up and down the stairs, reading, and bathing or they may just need regular reminders to take their medication. Each elderly person needs to be treated differently and cared for according to their physical and mental condition.
Communication is key.
#2 Treat them with respect and dignity.
Not everyone ages as gracefully as they want to. Never allow them to feel like a burden on you by mocking their poor health or their dependency on you. Some elderly individuals may need more care than others. They may not be able to move on their own or take care of their personal needs. Their adult children must understand that stress and emotional struggle elderly parents go through because of disabilities brought on by age and weakness.
What they need most is love and care.
#3 Make visits to the doctor mandatory.
A geriatrician is a doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of the elderly. Dr. Kamakshi Memorial Hospital offers geriatric services through Dr. K Eldercare, where doctors make house calls on patients who cannot come to the hospital. Ensure that your parent has a routine complete health check-up at least once a year or as recommended by the doctor. They need not have diabetes or hypertension for you to get them checked periodically. Check with the doctor on what tests need to be done and how often, to ensure their health is on track.
#4 Check their medication
After a certain age taking health supplements along with medications for underlying conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension becomes the new normal for everyone. It is important to take these medications diligently as instructed by the doctor. Often aged parents tend to take these daily meds for granted and forget to stock up when they run out.
Caregivers must ensure they have all the medication they need and that they take them regularly.
#5 Hire help if needed
Working adults may not be able to spend time with their aged parents. If the elderly parents are able an active, you may not need to hire a caretaker to look after them in your absence. However, if the parent is ill, bedridden, or has a condition like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s that affect the body and mind, someone should always be around to watch over them. In such cases hiring a trained nurse or helper will put your mind at ease. Looking after a sick loved one can also be physically and emotionally draining. If you do not have siblings to share the responsibility of taking care of your parents, there is no harm in hiring a caretaker.
#6 Encourage them to be active.
Weakness is a main side effect of ageing. The body tires easily and if you give in, you will end up staying indoors resting all day. This will lead to weight gain and unnecessary health complications. Hence, exercise is of extreme importance even to the elderly.
#7 Provide them with healthy food.
Older people are prone to digestive problems because the aged body processes and digests food differently. As a result, some elderly folks need to be on a strict diet. Similarly, those with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or some other conditions need to watch what they eat. As their caregiver, it is up to you to ensure they eat right.
#8 Make changes around your home for their safety.
Your home needs to be assessed to find out what safety measures need to be taken to make it suitable for an elderly person to live in. There are some modifications that need to be adopted to make your home a safe haven for your elderly parents.
Taking care of your parents when they are old is your duty. Do it with a smile and do it right.
CONSULTANT – GERIATRICS
MBBS., MD GERIATRICS