When taking care of an aging senior, it can be difficult to get the balance right – offering enough support, but without being overbearing. If the aging senior you care for once looked after you, it might be even harder for them to accept help. The key to providing the right support is to make a careful assessment of your loved one’s personal needs, because what works for one senior won’t always work for another.
Upon realizing their loved one might need some additional support, many family caregivers don’t know how to address the situation. Honesty and transparency are key, as is ensuring your parent is involved at each stage. Taking over control of every area of their life without considering their input and preferences is much less likely to be successful.
Consider Their Needs (and Yours)
A positive first step is often to sit down with the aging senior to discuss what would help them most. Perhaps they’re struggling with mobility in the home, or maybe getting out to run errands is becoming much more difficult. Make detailed notes of what they are finding particularly challenging and what they think would help.
Next, consider whether you are able to provide the support they need. When it comes to the health and wellbeing of a beloved relative, it’s easy to push aside your own needs for theirs. But committing to things you aren’t physically or practically capable of won’t be beneficial to anyone. For example, if you have mobility issues, attempting to help your loved one with personal care tasks like getting in and out of bed may put you both at risk of injury.
Once you have established the areas in which your parent or loved one needs help, and the things you are capable of doing for them, it can be useful to create a personalized care plan to set out how you will offer them support.
Things you Might Include in Your Loved one’s Care Plan
- Helping out with errands. If you live nearby and are physically able, things like securing groceries, sending mail, and running other errands can be a great help to seniors – especially those with reduced mobility or cognitive decline.
- Managing finances and bills. As a senior ages, keeping track of personal finances often becomes much more difficult. If your parent or relative is living with memory loss caused by dementia, it might be best to take care of their finances for them. On the other hand, if your loved one is still cognitively able to manage their own money, you could help by setting up an easy-to-use filing system.
- Medication management. Many seniors take medications each day, often for multiple chronic and acute conditions. This can be difficult to keep tabs on, but missing medication doses (or taking too much) can have significant health repercussions. Something as simple as sorting your loved one’s medication into pill boxes to help them keep track of what they have and haven’t taken could be greatly helpful. Alternatively, it may be safer to personally give them their doses if they’re not able to keep track alone.
- Supporting them with personal care tasks. Personal care tasks like bathing, moving in and out of bed and brushing teeth often become much more difficult with age. If you have noticed your loved one’s personal hygiene declining, helping out with these vital daily tasks may be beneficial.
- Home modification. This might include removing tripping hazards, installing handrails and grab bars, moving all appliances and possessions to a reachable height, or adding a non-slip surface or chair to their shower.
- Increasing social support. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are common in aging seniors, particularly those who live a long way from family members. If your loved one does live in close proximity to their social circle, schedule frequent visits. If this is not possible, setting them up with video calling technology is the next best thing.
- Exploring residential care homes. There might come a time when looking into residential care homes or assisted living in Colorado Springs is the best thing you can do to support your loved one. For example, if your loved one has cognitive decline and can no longer manage their own medication and money, but you live a distance away or aren’t able to be on hand 24/7, seeking an assisted living that provides memory care support might be beneficial. Alternatively, if small adaptations are not enough to make their home safe, a residential care home in Colorado Springs may be the best way to reduce their risk of falls or injury.
Ready to Explore Residential Assisted Living?
Moving to a residential care home or assisted living facility is a natural progression in the life of many aging seniors. Whether it’s due to practical constraints like time or distance, or declining health of the senior or family caregiver, sometimes it is just no longer possible to take care of a loved one from home.
If you’re interested in assisted living for your loved one, get in touch today to arrange a personalized tour of our residential care home.