Caring for Elderly Relatives Doesn’t Have to Take Over Your Life

older people

When you have elderly relatives, you will probably be familiar with the gradual increase in their needs. They might start asking you to buy things for them more frequently or perhaps you find yourself rushing to rescue on more occasions.

It is natural for older people to need more help as they age but this doesn’t mean that you have to give up all your time to run errands for them. Guilt is a strong factor in how you respond to your relative’s needs but it shouldn’t be. Instead, you should focus on what will benefit both of you and put systems in place to support you both.

Get Basic Help

Employing someone to help your relative at home is a big step but it can be a vital one. Home care services can encompass a wide range of things from light housework to more in-depth and specialist care for your loved one. This will take a lot of the pressure off you and allow you to return to a more balanced relationship.

When you are constantly cleaning or sorting things out at your relative’s house, it’s easy to forget to just sit and chat together. Ultimately, your relationship needs to be more. When someone helps you out, even if it’s as simple as a weekly clean, it can make all the difference and even extend the amount of time your relative can stay in their own home. And, when you’re not worrying about which supplements they need or which tablets need replacing, you can enjoy more of your time together.

Take Time

One of the best gifts you can give an elderly person is your time and attention. Spending an afternoon reminiscing and asking about their life gives them the human social contact they need and often can’t get. If your relative is often alone at home, the best thing you can do is provide conversation – even if you can only call some days.

Using memory aids such as photos and objects is a good way to trigger conversation. You could also try doing crafts or another activity together to pass the time. Remember: you need to provide a lot of the conversation so be willing to take on broad topics! If you are feeling stuck, there’s nothing wrong with reading a book out loud.

Ask What They Want

There are so many tough conversations we must have with our elderly relatives but what you might not expect is how your relatives respond. The reality is that while discussing delicate issues like end of life care and death with your relatives is hard, these conversations could actually help you work out what is best for their needs.

Many older people dread becoming a burden on their families but it takes a conversation to determine how to make things work for everyone. Listen to their priorities and discuss options together. They will probably be quite happy to accept paid help at home and may even be more positive about moving into different accommodation too.

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