How to Take Care of Elderly People: A Complete Guide

elderly woman sitting near flowers

87% of Americans are scared of getting old.

It’s no surprise. After all, old age spells ailing physical and mental capabilities. Your good looks start to fade, you get wobblier on your feet, and you can no longer support yourself in the same way.

Clearly, there are aspects of getting old that genuinely aren’t fun.

But this inevitable part of life doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom! With quality care, elderly people can enjoy a happy and fulfilling existence.

The responsibility of providing it often falls to friends and family. Alongside professional care, loved ones play a key role in supporting their aging relatives.

Is there an aging loved one in your family who you’re taking care of these days?

Keep reading to discover 8 top tips on providing the greatest care possible.

1. Keep Things Person-Centered

Person-centered care is a pillar of providing appropriate support for anybody who needs it.

It’s about treating somebody as a unique and individual person. It’s about involving them, as much as feasibly possible, in decision-making and the delivery of care itself.

Many people dismiss the elderly. They assume they know better than their aging relative and make decisions accordingly. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate to what’s best for them.

Ensure you do right by them by catering to their unique needs and personality. Talk openly about their needs and how you can meet them.

2. Get External Support

You can only do so much.

Sometimes, for the benefit of everybody involved, external professional support might be needed to supplement the care you’re providing.

Life doesn’t just stop when somebody requires your care. There are still children to feed, work to be done, and bills to be paid. Working all of that around the care needs of a loved one isn’t easy.

External support can relieve the burden of responsibility. You’ll get some breathing room, and your loved one gets adequate care.

3. Be Wary of Potential Abuse

Older people can be incredibly vulnerable.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous individuals take advantage of the situation for personal gain. Even worse, others will actively neglect and abuse them.

Now, hiring outside support creates greater opportunity for that eventuality. However, friends and family are sometimes at fault as well. Always keep an eye on the people caring for your loved one.

Act quickly to report and deal with elder abuse issues that arise. Don’t, and your elderly relative might suffer at the hands of financial, physical, or emotional abuse.

4. Care With Dignity in Mind

Age has a nasty habit of removing our dignity.

Physical and mental capabilities dwindle, leaving room for boredom, loneliness, and illness. It’s the job of a carer to prolong and restore as much dignity as possible.

Remember, old people have lived a life of caring for themselves. The need for outside support can be embarrassing and shameful. Their welfare’s now in the hands of somebody else.

Be diligent in preserving their dignity. Work hard to involve them as much as possible; don’t just do everything for them if they can do it. Treat them with respect and help them feel as in control as possible.

5. Visit Them Regularly

It’s hard to overstate the value of your presence.

Rates of loneliness in elderly people are frighteningly high. Imagine living alone and being unable to move around the property, navigate the stairs, walk outside, or prepare your own meals.

Sometimes, the only company old people get is the care workers who come throughout the day. The monotony and isolation of old age is often the hardest part of the predicament.

Make a habit of visiting your elderly loved ones on a regular basis. Furthermore, be sure to honor your commitments. You can guarantee your visit will make their day; missing it will be a real loss.  

6. Keep an Eye on Medications

Most elderly individuals will be on a wide assortment of medications.

Their physical and mental wellbeing may depend on taking the prescribed dosage. Proper administration of medication becomes difficult when memory becomes a problem.

External support may be charged with the responsibility. Nonetheless, lay out the right medication ahead of time in a pillbox. Then, keep an eye on this throughout the week to ensure it’s being taken as required.

7. Update the Home

This piece of advice assumes your elderly loved one is still in their own home.

You need to make sure that the household is kitted out in line with their needs. Bathrooms must have appropriate equipment in place to keep them safe. Supportive equipment can prolong somebody’s independence long into old age.

Get an assessment done by a professional to find out what must be done. Consider installing seats in the shower, supportive bars in key locations, chair lifts, emergency buttons, and so on.

8. Help Them Stay Active

Active people live longer. It’s as simple as that.

Furthermore, active people remain happy and healthy people for longer too. If possible, encourage your aging loved ones to keep physically and mentally active.

Take them for short walks and engage them in suitable fitness regimes.

The same goes for interacting with others. Part of staying active is maintaining a social life.

We’ve already noted how getting old can be a lonely experience. Health and sports clubs and activities can provide much-needed social engagement.

Don’t forget the mental side of things either. Try to provide mental stimulation as much as possible too.

Time to Care Properly for Elderly People

Getting older isn’t always fun.

Physical, mental, emotional, and social challenges all occur in old age. It’s no surprise why so many people fear the prospect of aging!

Thankfully, getting appropriate care can make life in old age a bit easier. In this way, knowing how to provide that support can provide somebody with a happy and healthy final phase of life.

Hopefully, this post has provided the insight you need to care for the elderly people in your own life.

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