For some of us, taking the decision to care for our elderly parents, or grandparents at home is an obvious choice. For others, it may not be practical for a host of reasons. Caring for an elderly relative at home, or even in their own home, is not something to be taken on without serious consideration.
It involves a series of changes both at home and in the habits and customs of life in general. Experts in home care services suggest 10 basic tips to help you in the task of caring for an elderly person in your home, or in their own home.
- Integrate the elderly: strengthen family ties and friendship between all members of your family and the elderly. Try to participate in different activities in clubs and integration centres.
- Help them to be physically independent: try to ensure that the places where they move inside your home are free of obstacles and well illuminated to avoid falls and accidents. Repair any frayed carpeting and use non-slip mats where necessary.
- Take care of their personal hygiene: encourage them to do daily hygiene and take care of their skin with moisturisers and sunscreen in case of sun exposure.
- Help them to have a restful sleep: the elderly sleep for only a few hours and their awakenings can be abrupt. Before going to sleep, check that the light in their room is switched on, or they can easily do it themselves.
- Strictly control their oral health: in the case that they use a dental prosthesis, brush it after each meal and let it rest in cold water at night. In case they still have their own teeth, take care that they, or you, gently brush their teeth and gums with a soft brush, using fluoride toothpaste.
- Help them to comply with what the doctor has indicated: for this, you will have to make a detailed report with all the treatments that you will have to follow. Keep a record of medications with each dose and schedule and avoid self-medication.
- Consult the doctor immediately if you notice your relative seems to be in a depressed mood.
- Help them with incontinence: remind them to go to the bathroom. Adapt it for their easy use with rails for support, grab bars, etc.
- A healthy diet: it is preferable that the elderly consume light foods with little salt. Supply them with boiled or grilled foods.
- Accompany them: it is essential to listen to them; and ensure that all family members give plenty of support and, above all, are patient.
Overall, it is important that your relative has companionship, feels loved, and has someone to listen to their concerns.