It’s a good idea to have a serious conversation with your loved one before they start to show physical and mental symptoms of old age. You need to know their thoughts and opinions on elderly care so that you can conform to their wishes should the need arise.
Perhaps your elderly mother dreads the thought of going into a care home, for example, or your father has a strong desire to stay in his own home. It’s only through frank discussions that you can all be clear on the best way forward to ensure the wellbeing as well as physical health and safty of your loved one.
Tip: A sensible idea is to discuss the subject of Power of Attorney, so that if the the time comes and your elderly loved one becomes unable to handle his or her own financial affairs, you are able to step in and take care of that side of things.
Effective care for the elderly is all about being prepared in advance and pre-empting any serious issues before they happen. Older people are more prone to slips, trips and falls, so check through the home to make sure that hazards are removed. The bathroom can be a particularly dangerous place, so consider fitting grab rails to baths and showers, and perhaps hand rails around the toilet.
Stairs can also be a problem, so installing a stair lift might be a good option. It’s also a good idea to install special smoke alarms which feature strobe lighting, as many elderly people struggle with hearing loss. Arthritic hands might require special kitchen equipment to make cooking easier. Take time to look out for potential problems and see whether you can come up with solutions.
Older people are usually used to independent living, and it can be difficult for them to come to terms with any loss of that independence. You have to accept that this stage of life is difficult for your loved one, and that it may take time for them to accept that their needs are changing.
It’s natural for older people to revisit their younger days, and so even if you’ve heard the anecdotes many times before, it’s often a good idea to let them talk. Help them to enjoy their memories, perhaps by going through old photograph albums or arranging for them to see old films that they love. Acknowledging their achievements and helping them to relive the past is a valuable exercise which brings them great enjoyment.
Loneliness can be a curse in old age, so don’t let your loved one become a recluse. Encourage them to go out to social events – your local authority will have details of activities for older people. If they refuse, then take them out shopping or for a drive around familiar places to keep them interested in life. Encourage them to continue with favourite hobbies or to develop new ones. Staying physically and mentally active is very important.
Personal care can be a tricky subject, particularly between parents and children. The parents are used to being the caregivers, and it can be hard for them to accept any form of role reversal. If your loved one needs one-to-one assistance, then it is often easier all round to arrange elderly care at home from a live-in care provider such as Elder.
With so much bad press about care homes, many elderly people and their relatives are reluctant to go down that route. As an alternative, you might like to consider an elderly care at home option. Social services will do an assessment and produce a care plan to give you an outline of the type of care which is appropriate. However, you should bear in mind that local authority home care services are under huge pressure and caregivers are only usually able to do the bare minimum.
An increasingly popular option is private care, which is tailored exactly around your loved one’s needs. From assistance with dressing, bathing and toileting to help with cooking, shopping and even social events, a caregiver can provide as much, or as little, help as is required.
If your loved one’s health or mental faculties deteriorate, then private live-in care is an ideal solution. A dedicated live-in carer provides 24/7 care for absolute peace of mind. Should your loved one need help during the night, then you have the comfort of knowing that they will be taken care of.
Many in-home care workers are trained in Alzheimer’s care and dementia care, a skill that requires a lot of patience and understanding, and one that relatives might struggle with. A key advantage of live-in care is that your loved one is surrounded by familiar things in an environment that they are accustomed to, and this can be a great comfort. It also means that any pets can remain too, which can provide a lot of happiness as well of health benefits for older people.
“The security and patience of live-in care has meant my mother has relaxed and her general disposition has improved to no end.”
Home care works in many different ways. Each person’s case is different with unique preferences, physical needs and life experiences, and care at home should be as tailored as possible to the individual’s requirements.
If you have decided to employ a live-in carer to provide care and support for your loved one, there are various ways you can go about finding a suitable person. This form of elderly care offers the best way of helping an older person to remain safe and independent in their own home when their care needs increase.
With an increasingly ageing population, it is important to establish the most appropriate form of care on an individual basis. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, and most of us will at some point be faced with helping to make major life decisions, in conjunction with our loved ones, as senior members of our families begin to need assistance in all sorts of little ways.
The majority of older people would prefer to live independently in their own homes but unfortunately this is not always possible.
As our loved ones become older, and start to experience difficulties in managing on their own, we have to consider the options for their future wellbeing. Care homes have been subject to some very bad press in the past, and many elderly people live in dread of being taken to live in unfamiliar surroundings with people they don’t know. We want the absolute best for our older relatives, so it’s important to consider all the options.
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