Grandparents, parents, in-laws, uncles or aunts may need our care when they reach a certain age. Although some families choose to take their relatives to specialised care centres or hire someone to assist them, others decide to keep them in the home and give them the attention they deserve. In this article, we offer several tips on how to care for the elderly at home.
Being responsible for the care of an elderly person can be very rewarding and at the same time exhausting, especially if they do not have the ability to mobilise on their own or suffer from a neurodegenerative disease.
Keys to caring for the elderly at home
Perhaps the women of the house (daughters, daughters-in-law, nieces, etc.) are in charge of caring for the elderly, for reasons of filiation but, also, by social conceptions. It is good that all those who live in the same house are responsible for the tasks involved in the care of that person.
One person cannot do everything, especially if the father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, uncle or aunt is sick, cannot get out of bed, must follow a specific diet, etc. If you find yourself taking care of an older person and feel that you are overloaded with tasks, ask for help from other family members, or if impractical then at least consider part-time elderly home care services.
Do not feel guilty
Many people choose to leave relatives in a specialised home for the elderly and feel very guilty about it. In other cases, not being able to meet the family member’s expectations produces similar sensations. In either case, you cannot always do everything perfectly, and should not feel guilty.
To avoid these feelings you can, for example, hire an assistant to take care of the person during the night or the hours when you are not at home.
This is the key not only to care of the elderly but for life in general. Plan ahead and be organised. For example, do not make mistakes with medication, always have emergency or medical telephone numbers on hand. Do not run out of medicines or other essential supplies. Know the correct schedules for taking pills, and even set alarms to not miss the indicated times. By staying organized, you will be less stressed and have an easier time with getting things done throughout your day.
Learning about the care of the elderly
There are several courses or support groups for family members of sick or elderly people who stay at home. It can be a perfect place to learn about the most important things to consider and even to let off steam with people who are in the same situation as you.
Take some time for yourself
You cannot spend all day every day caring for your elderly relative. You also need to satisfy your own social, recreational, and emotional needs, etc.
Take one or two hours each day to do what you like most, as much as possible outside the home and not in the company of the elderly person you care for. If you do not have anyone else to help you, hire someone to stay a few hours in the house so that you can do what you want.
If you are tired, it is more difficult for you to be able to assist someone who is elderly and, in many cases, sick. Therefore, getting enough quality sleep is essential. Lack of sleep will diminish your ability to concentrate, to solve problems, to be attentive to the needs of the family, to remember important things, etc.
If you have the opportunity, take a nap. If you have had children, think about the time they were babies. It’s something similar now. If you hire a person to help you, take the opportunity to sleep when they are with your elderly relative.
Learn to say no
You will surely have many responsibilities and activities that you will not be able to attend or fulfill. Do not overload yourself with things. If you are dedicating your time to take care of your elderly relative, you will not have many free hours, therefore, do not commit yourself to too many other things that later you will not be able to fulfill. Learn to say no. Remember that you cannot do everything, and a day only has 24 hours.