Your parents have taken care of you their whole lives, but there might come a point when it’s your time to take care of them. Many children will want to do the best for their parents, but they might not know quite what that actually is, especially if the older person in question is suffering from dementia of any kind or has any other extreme health conditions. With this in mind, here are some of the things to think about if you want to take care of an elderly person, like a parent, yourself.
It’s absolutely vital that you are realistic about what you can and can’t do when it comes to taking care of someone. The first question to ask is whether or not you are the right person to do this; would your parent or other loved one be better off in a specialist care home where dementia care training is undertaken regularly? This can sometimes be the case, and there is no shame in admitting that you need help in this regard. It’s far better to be honest with yourself and others than to put everyone in a difficult situation that just isn’t going to work.
If you do know that you’ll need help, consider your options. The care home we mentioned above is one idea, but so too is home help. Or perhaps there are other family members who can help out at least from time to time. You’ll need to have all these ideas cemented in place before you can begin to take care of an older person because you want to be comfortable and happy as much of the time as possible – even if you also know it’s going to be hard work.
Make Changes Around The Home
If you are choosing to take care of an elderly loved one at home, it’s quite possible that you’ll need to make some changes around the house. Modifications such as a stair lift, grab handles in the bathroom, and other ideas like a walk-in bath, for example, might all be necessary. It’s wise to get an idea of the costs of doing this upfront and to investigate whether or not there might be some government assistance to help you make your home safer for those with mobility issues.
If your home – or your older loved one’s home – is not suitable for these changes (perhaps you live in an apartment that requires climbing stairs to get to it, for example), you may need to consider moving elsewhere. This can be a strain both financially and emotionally, but if it means that everyone is safe and comfortable, it could be a worthwhile thing to think about at least.
If you want to care for an elderly person, you’ll need to make sure they get enough exercise. Depending on their mobility and general state of health, they might not be able to do very much in terms of exercising, but there will still be options open to them – swimming is a good example of low-impact exercise that can do a lot of good. There are also classes specifically designed for older people.
Exercise is important throughout life and it shouldn’t stop just because we get older. If you are taking care of a loved one, it’s crucial you encourage them to exercise as much as possible to ensure they are as healthy as they can be, both physically and mentally.