Tuesday , 17 October 2017
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Tips On Caring For An Elderly Relative

More and more people are taking on the care responsibilities for an elderly relative. This is a big responsibility that comes with certain physical and emotional challenges. However, there is a lot of information and help available. By becoming clued up on how to deliver the best care for your older relatives, you can make this a much safer and more enjoyable experience for both you and the patient. Keep reading for some helpful tips on providing care for an elderly relative.

Prepare your home

When preparing your home, it is important that you take steps to ensure that it is as comfortable and safe as possible for your elderly family member. For example, you should:

  • Ensure that the home is warm and dry. Older adults are at a high risk of contracting flu, and so cold and damp conditions should be avoided.

  • Remove any potential trip or fall hazards like cables, toys or shoes from the ground.

  • Install railings on areas of your home where your elderly relative will need to move up or down. So this will include next to toilets, baths and next to staircases. If your elderly relative is unable or will have real difficulty getting up and down your staircase, you may need to install a stairlift.

 Image from Ben Sutherland

Feeding and diet

It’s important to encourage the person you are caring for to eat regular healthy meals to keep their strength up. Without enough nutritional food, their immune system may suffer raising their risk of developing an illness or infection.

  • Soft foods are much better for elderly patients because they will not cause problems with their teeth. So, soups, stews, casseroles, yoghurts and smoothies are all healthy and manageable options.

  • Some elderly patients suffer from swallowing difficulties. If this is the case, you may wish to stock up on thickener for liquids to ensure they are able to eat enough to remain fed and hydrated.

Image from Loren Kerns

Mental stimulation

Elderly patients need mental stimulation to keep their mind active and alert. Here are some effective ways to do this:

  • If possible take them out for a short walk to the shops or around the park. The fresh air and change of scenery will do you both much good.

  • Watching television, listening to music, reading and doing puzzles are all great ideas.

  • Socializing with family, especially grandchildren, will do a lot for your elderly relatives well being.

Exercise

Even if the person you are caring for is wheelchair or bed bound, there are some gentle exercises you can help to improve their mobility. It’s always best to get a medical professional’s advice before encouraging physical activity.

  • Gentle arm, neck and chest stretches can be done when sitting down.

  • An assisted short stroll around the garden can be an enjoyable and beneficial exercise.

  • Circling the wrists and ankles can prevent joints from seizing up.

Caring for an elderly relative will require a lot of preparation and research. However, there is so much help out there for people in your position.

Best of luck.

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