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Top Tips for Caring for the Elderly

by | Oct 21, 2022 | Aged Care | 0 comments

According to the most recent estimates, about 16% of Australia’s total population is aged 65 and above. Chances are someone in your family has reached that age where they need to be taken care of. And caring for the elderly isn’t an easy job.

While becoming a caregiver is a natural progression for adult children, it can be a challenging proposition. Many caregivers face these new responsibilities with little to no preparation or warning. Add on a stressful job, a busy social calendar, and few personal resources, and you have the makings of a perfect storm.

But, we can help make your life a little bit easier. Below are some tips that will help you navigate this difficult journey with some ease. So, let’s begin.

 

Make a Caregiving Plan

The first and foremost tip is to have a plan in place. A caregiving plan gives you a framework to organize your thoughts and plans. It will help you anticipate challenges, set goals, and make decisions as they arise.

This can be a simple outline or a detailed plan with action items and deadlines. The important thing is that you write it down and share it with your loved ones. You can access online caregiving tools or hire a caregiving coach to help you create a plan.

 

Develop a Routine

If your parents are old and frail, it might help to create a set routine for them. Now, this can be a bit challenging for you as their routine will likely be very different from what you expect.

So, what you can do is assemble a team of health and social care professionals. Ask them to assess your parent’s current situation and offer recommendations for improvement. They can recommend a care schedule and suggest ways to reorganize the home to make it easier to navigate.

 

Select a Care Manager

If your parent needs nursing care or assistance with daily living, you may want to consider a Care Manager. This is a private professional who can help you navigate the healthcare system and find appropriate services for your parents.

 

Make the Necessary Adjustments

Most of us want to do everything we can to keep our ageing parents in their own homes for as long as we can. But not all families or situations allow for this.

If your parent is too frail to live alone, or falls frequently and needs a walker or wheelchair, you may have to arrange alternative living arrangements.  There are residential facilities available specifically designed for caring for the elderly.

But if you decide to care for them at home, you can try to make it safer and more accessible for them. Some adjustments include installing grab bars in the bathroom, a handrail near the bed, and a home alarm system.

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Caring for the Elderly

Learn to Say No

Your parents may have strong opinions about how they would like to live and what kind of care they need. They have their own history, values, and lifestyle. But they might not be able to fully accept the changes that come with ageing.

So, as their carer, you have a responsibility to keep them safe and healthy. And at times, this can mean saying No to them and making decisions they might not agree with.

 

Take Care of Yourself

Caring for the elderly will take a toll on you. So, it’s important that you set healthy boundaries and take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Make sure that you are not completely ignoring your health, hobbies, and interests. It is easy to let your life revolve around your ageing parents.

However, the best gift you can give them is to take care of yourself by finding ways to manage stress and maintain your health and wellness. Consider joining a caregiver support group or engaging in a mindfulness practice such as meditation or yoga.

There may come a time when you feel like you aren’t doing enough or not making the right choices. You may even feel like you are letting your parents down. Know that these feelings are normal and common among carers.

Try some of these strategies to overcome these feelings:

  1. Recognize the guilt or shame you feel: This is a normal part of being a carer for an elderly or a disabled person and does not mean you are a bad person.
  2. Be kind to yourself: Remember that being a carer is a difficult job. You don’t have to be perfect. Be forgiving and give yourself credit for trying.
  3. Find a support network: If you feel overwhelmed or isolated, reach out and ask for help. There are many support groups for carers.

 

Seek Help when you Need it

When you are caring for the elderly, you might have to make some tough decisions regarding their healthcare or living arrangements. This can be very challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Many organisations specialise in aged care. You can contact one of those agencies and seek expert help.

 

Keep Track of Important Documents and Information

As a caregiver, you may need access to medical records and other important documents. You may also need to provide sensitive financial and health information to government agencies and service providers.

Check your loved one’s insurance coverage. Make sure you understand what is covered and what is not. If you need to make changes, there is a process you need to follow.  Keep a list of important phone numbers and contacts.

Ensure that the information is in one place and share it with other family members. These may come in handy when making decisions or applying for benefits.

 

Stay in Touch With Friends and Family

It is easy to become isolated and neglect your own needs while caring for your elderly parents or relatives. However, you will benefit greatly from social support, even if it is just an hour a week spent with a friend or family member.

Keeping in touch with family and friends will help you stay motivated, feel good, and be connected. It can also help you find respite care when you need a break.

 

Conclusion

As the population ages, more and more Australians will have to assume the role of carers for their ageing parents. And the best way to prepare for this journey of caring for the elderly is to educate yourself about ageing and the challenges of being a carer

. Keep in mind that you are not alone. You might feel that way. But there are many resources available to help you navigate this difficult journey with more ease. If your parents are NDIS participants, Providence Healthcare can help you with their care.

Tell Us More About You

Providence Healthcare is dedicated to helping the people around us live better and more independent life. Let us know how we can help you.

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