*In collaboration with Age UK Mobility.
Caring for elderly relatives and ageing parents is sometimes a difficult transition for both parties. Advancing from the role of child to the role of caregiver can be a big adjustment, but it is important to remember that all anyone wants is to be happy, healthy and to do what’s best for everyone involved.
Caring for elderly relatives is something that I feel quite strongly about, especially at the moment, as my wonderful 97-year-old Grandfather has had to go through a lot of new adjustments and routines in 2020.
I’ve put together this post with the aim of helping the children, grandchildren and friends of elderly people. I’ve written 5 tips that can help ease the stress and combat some of the difficulties that can arise when becoming a caregiver. My only wish is that this post helps a few people out during a difficult, and sometimes upsetting, time.
1. Help out without taking over.
It’s so vital to remember that you’re there to help, not take over. As we age, we sometimes find it hard to accept that the things that used to come naturally and be so effortless can eventually become a daily struggle.
A good first step is to discuss arising issues and put together a list of daily/weekly/monthly tasks that you can help complete. Working together and easing into your caregiving role is a great way to establish boundaries, manage your own personal stress levels and allow your elderly relatives to remain in control.
2. Be realistic about the amount of care needed.
Becoming a caregiver can be incredibly stressful; so many of us will do almost anything for the ones we love and that includes overstretching ourselves when it comes to helping others. When it becomes clear your elderly relatives need a little extra help, it’s important to be realistic about the amount of time you can give and the tasks that you can help with. Discuss plans with them and talk about the ways in which you can help them and when you would be able to pop in and check on them.
3. Install helpful aids around the home.
Fortunately there are many options available to ease the daily struggles that your elderly relatives may face, which would allow both parties to still lead their individual lives. Age UK Mobility help the elderly to stay safe, independent and comfortable in their own homes by providing excellent care and products to those who need it. Installing stairlifts can give those who are struggling with the stairs a whole new sense of independence once more. Likewise, walk in baths or shower seats provide much relief for those who struggle in this area.
4. Keep them stocked up with easy to prepare food.
I know it seems odd, but I know from experience that forgetting to eat or losing track of time can be a big issue for the elderly. Making meals and treats and dropping them in is one way to ensure that they’ve got ‘ready to go’ food that they can grab without the need to do too much in the way of preparation. Another option is to enrol them in a Meals On Wheels scheme; this relieves some of the pressure for you and provides lovingly made hot meals for them!
5. Keep conversations open and honest.
When becoming a caregiver, you’ll need to ensure that conversation is at the heart of your care plan.
As time goes on, additional help may be required and it may even be necessary to discuss living arrangements. Keeping conversations open and honest is the best advice I can give, so everyone knows what’s expected of them and what they can do to make future transitions as easy as possible.
Financial implications are another huge part of becoming a caregiver and finances are often a topic that people try and shy away from. It’s important to keep everyone on the same page when it comes to care plans and routines, and that includes financial plans.
Those are my 5 tips for ensuring your elderly relatives stay happy and healthy while living it home. I hope that these tips will enable you to keep your elderly relatives or ageing parents in their own homes for longer and allow them to keep as much of their independence as possible.