When it is time to take care of your parents or a senior family member, you want to be sure that they are handled with the care, love, and compassion that they deserve. While it may be stressful to add, you must also keep in mind that it is not easy for them to become dependent on you or others for their care and other needs. It is important that you become familiar with ways to provide them with the best care possible.
1. Visit Them
It is important to visit seniors often to show that you care about them. They need social interactions with you, and you get the reassurance that they are safe, healthy, and doing well. During your visit, it’s always best to check around the house for any issues that may need to be addressed such as the overall cleanliness of the house or any other maintenance that may need to be fixed. A routine check of their food supply, laundry, mail, and plants is never a bad idea.
2. Check Their Medications
Be sure that your parents are appropriately supplied with whatever medications they need. It is important that all of their prescriptions are filled and refilled as needed. If they are on a number of medications, it is best to buy a pillbox organizer with compartments labelled with the days of the week. This can help simplify their medication and prevent overdosing from occurring. If a new medication is prescribed, be sure to ask the doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects or possible interactions with current medications.
3. Talk Openly About Money
Most times your elderly loved ones are not comfortable or willing to talk about their finances. But you must try to have open discussions about money, especially if they live on a fixed income or if there is a budget to be adhered to. It’s easy to get in debt, especially for seniors with expensive medical bills.
4. Watch for Driving Issues
There may come a time when your loved one may no longer be able to drive due to their declining cognitive abilities and reaction time while on the road. It is important to assess their driving abilities. When it does become an issue, offer other options that may help such as hiring a driver or using a delivery service for groceries.
5. Take Care of Paperwork
Make sure everything is up-to-date and completed when it comes to their important paperwork such as their will or power of attorney. It is not an easy conversation but it is essential. Once the task is done, it will give you both peace of mind.
6. Keep Them Exercising
It is important to keep your elderly loved one active and involved. Exercise is important to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for the elderly to become isolated and lonely or experience depression, especially if they have lost their spouse. It is important that they remain involved with their family and friends or venture out to make new friends. There are many resources in your community that offer things to do and places to go that will help your loved one stay social and active.
7. Supply Healthy Meals
Your loved one may not have the ability or the desire to cook for themselves. It is important that they are well fed in order to stay healthy. As people get older, their eating habits usually get worse and worse. You can try to prevent this by preparing meals in advance for them. Luckily, there are many deliverable meal plan options out there that do not cost an arm and a leg. Some of these meal plans can even accommodate special requests such as diabetic meals.
8. Keep an Eye on Them
Seniors may not want to admit that they need help, so you’ll need to keep an eye on them. If you check in on them from now and then, they will know that they feel loved and supported. Make sure that they feel that it’s okay to ask for help. If your parents or seniors are tech-savvy, you could also get them a cell phone to allow better communication with you. This way they are always only a phone call away and can phone you if they need assistance.
9. Arrange a Schedule
If possible, try to arrange a consistent schedule between you and other family members to help the seniors in your life. Seniors need some extra care and may need help with bathing, getting to doctor appointments, shopping, and cooking. It may be necessary to hire someone to help with some of those tasks. A schedule will not only help keep your life structured and organized, but it will help your parents know what’s on their agenda as well.
10. Utilize Neighbourhood Resources
There are many resources available for seniors including community centres, religious centers, transportation options, and even meetups. It’s easy to do a little Google research to find out which options are available. For a good resource check out the Vancouver City website.
BONUS: Take Care of Yourself
Lastly, this may seem self evident, but to take care of someone, you first must remain healthy yourself. Those who take care of their senior parents often suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression. Caring for an elderly person is time consuming and draining so it’s best to divide the responsibilities between you, your spouse and other family members. It is important to take breaks, get away a bit and enjoy your life as well.
However, some seniors may need extra care that even you can’t provide. This is when you may consider a nursing home like Lynn Valley Care Centre where we have the staff, the expertise, and the ability to take care of someone with complex needs. If you’re looking for a home for your loved one with 24-hour nursing care available, please schedule a tour of our facility.