A report released as a part of the National Health and Aging Trends Study found that two-thirds of Americans that are 65 or older need help performing at least one basic everyday activity. What that means is that for most people, they will experience a time when their aging parents need help around the house and maintaining their health.
When it comes to providing home senior care, many people decide to take on the job themselves rather than seeking out more costly alternatives. While this is a completely reasonable solution, there are a number of important things to take into consideration if you go this route.
Are you wondering how to care for a senior in a way that improves their wellbeing without compromising your own?
Let’s take a look at five tips to help you come up with a home senior care plan.
1. Assess How Much Care Is Needed
Perhaps the most crucial step in how to care for a senior is determining just how much help they need. It is a delicate task to assess how much help is too much or too little. It’s important to be wary of taking on too much responsibility too soon, as this can compromise their sense of independence and leave them overwhelmed.
You will want to sit down and organize exactly what your elderly loved one can do on their own and what they will need help with. Break these down into tasks that occur daily, weekly, monthly, and sporadically. You can determine what they do and don’t need help with by taking notes throughout the day about which tasks require assistance.
You should also feel free to incorporate your loved one into the decision-making process about the tasks they need help with. Maybe they are still fully capable of taking their own medicine, getting to the doctors, and practicing hygiene, but maybe they need help with some of the domestic tasks involved in taking care of a house and themselves.
Maintaining as much independence as possible is important for the well-being of people as they age. When you take on more responsibility that is needed, it can both leave them feeling helpless and you feeling burnt out.
2. Be Realistic About How Much Home Senior Care You Can Provide
When your loved one needs help, it’s easy to try and do everything yourself. However, you need to be realistic about what you can and can’t do. It doesn’t make you a bad person to be honest about how much time and energy you can put towards caring for your loved one without stretching yourself too thin.
If you end up burning out it leaves you not being equipped to take care of yourself, let alone your loved one.
3. How to Take Care of a Senior: Don’t Be Afraid to Get the Help You Need
Once you have been straightforward with yourself and your family about how much help you will be able to give, it’s time to find help from outside sources. It’s important to realize that you should not be ashamed about being unable to do everything yourself. Feeling guilty will only get in the way of getting your loved one the sustainable help they need.
Some of the additional support channels you can call upon include:
- Having other family members and friends help out
- Enrolling your elderly loved one in a day program for adults
- Finding a volunteer senior companion to take them on outings and visit
- Hiring a regular caregiver to help with tasks around the house
- Reducing errands by setting up grocery delivery and buying supplies in bulk
Close friends and family members will also likely be willing to help out in an occasional way, such as preparing a meal, helping with small tasks, and running simple errands.
4. Create a Safe Home Environment
It can be difficult for seniors to maintain a safe home as they age. In this regard, you can help reduce the risk of injury by making sure their home is as safe as possible.
Firstly, you can eliminate tripping hazards and take steps to make the bathroom safer for them. You can also post emergency numbers nearby and purchase a medical alert device that lets them easily contact 911 in the case of an emergency. It’s a good idea to also make sure that the home is well lit so they don’t have issues navigating the house when it’s dark.
Are you wondering how to care for your aging parent after they’ve been released from the hospital? You can find more information here.
5. Don’t Forget to Practice Self-Care
It may seem counterintuitive, but when your task is to care for someone else, your first priority should be caring for yourself. When you don’t practice self-care, you won’t be able to sustainably give others what they need.
Make sure that you are eating a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet and getting enough high-quality sleep. It’s also essential to stay hydrated and get regular exercise. Consider incorporating other relaxing and meditative activities, such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, listening to music, journaling, creative activities, or taking a soothing bath.
Home Senior Care: What’s the Best Solution For You?
Coming up with a home senior care plan that works for your family is the most important thing when it comes to a sustainable solution. Whether this means incorporating hired help, signing your parent up for an adult day program, or keeping it all in the family, make sure that you are being honest and realistic about the best way to prioritize both the health of your loved one and your own.
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