When You Are Responsible For Elder Care
At some point, it will happen. We will need to care for an aging parent or family member in our home and it can leave us feeling overwhelmed and unsure of ourselves. What do you need? How do you make sure they are safe? How can you encourage some independence without bringing them harm? There is a lot to take care of when you take on an aging parent. Depending on their level of need, you may be able to put things off until they are truly needed. Here are some things to consider before bringing your loved one home!
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Multiple Floors Can Be Difficult
If your loved one is suffering mobility issues and you have a home with one floor, this can create a hazard for them. If you can create a bedroom and bathroom for them on the main floor, great! That will make like easier. If you can’t do that, lift chairs can be your best friend. The best lift chairs offer ease of use, quiet mechanics, and an empowering sense of independence for your elder. Most are easy to add to your budget and installation is often included. If your elder is struggling with wheelchair use, a lift chair could still be of help but you will need to also consider widening doorways and traffic areas. Ramps into the home will also be a big help to those in a motorized chair or wheelchair. Unfortunately, many homes are not designed with any disability in mind (unless designed specifically as a handicap-friendly home). It can be as simple as just moving items out of the way to structural work to accommodate.
Stay On Top Of Doctor’s Visits
Bless the elderly because we love them so. However, they can make some of the worst patients. Some of them are tired of seeing doctors. Some of them are forgetful due to age or medicines that they are taking. Some of them are suffering from depression and have no desire to really care for themselves anymore. This becomes a big deal when it comes to staying on top of doctor’s appointments. Even if they are capable of going on their own, you are still going to have to stay on top of their appointments and if they attend. Everything from a checkup, to a flu shot appointment, and to medicine management. It may seem overwhelming when you consider your own appointments, spouse appointments, and children appointments. The best thing to do is to put them all into Google calendar and share with other family members so that a team of you can tackle the job.
We spend quite a bit of our time in the bathroom. The bathroom can be a dangerous place for the elderly. It’s easy to slip on water after a shower and struggle with getting on and off the toilet. The bathroom is definitely one of the places to update with some helpful tools. We recommend handrails by the toilet and in the shower to make getting in and out, or on and off, much easier and without requiring a person to assist. If your loved one has a particularly hard mobility issue, a shower chair is a benefit to help them get clean without having to stand the entire time. You may want to consider adding small throw rugs or bath mats around the bathroom to make it easier to avoid slips and falls. If you do, we suggest adding double-sided tape to the bottom to secure them to the floor. That way they don’t curl up or move and become a tripping hazard.
Take into consideration the type of needs your elderly family member will need. Don’t be afraid to ask their medical team what sort of things can help. You can also think outside of the box if you cannot afford a certain type of tool but have the resources to create what you need.
Empowering your loved one with a living space that allows them to move on their terms is one way to help them battle illness related depression. It also gives you the peace of mind that they are less likely to be harmed.