Care for the elderly involves dedicated support for an older person who wishes to continue living in their own home. It may involve housekeeping services, cooking meals, personal care, mobility support, administering medication or simply companionship and support getting out and about.
Elderly care can be offered through regular home visits, during day or night. A carefully selected live-in carer can also be arranged, providing the extra reassurance that someone is always there to support and help you live independently.
Especially for someone living with dementia, this extra support within the home environment can be invaluable in maintaining routines and living with a good degree of independence.
Effective care for the elderly is all about being prepared in advance and pre-empting any serious issues before they happen. Older people are more prone to slips, trips and falls, so check through the home to make sure that hazards are removed. The bathroom can be a particularly dangerous place, so consider fitting grab rails to baths and showers, and perhaps hand rails around the toilet.
Stairs can also be a problem, so installing a stair lift might be a good option. It’s also a good idea to install special smoke alarms which feature strobe lighting, as many elderly people struggle with hearing loss. Arthritic hands might require special kitchen equipment to make cooking easier. Take time to look out for potential problems and see whether you can come up with solutions.
Older people are usually used to independent living, and it can be difficult for them to come to terms with any loss of that independence.
You have to accept that this stage of life is difficult for your loved one, and that it may take time for them to accept that their needs are changing.
It’s natural for older people to revisit their younger days, and so even if you’ve heard the anecdotes many times before, it’s often a good idea to let them talk. Help them to enjoy their memories, perhaps by going through old photograph albums or arranging for them to see old films that they love. Acknowledging their achievements and helping them to relive the past is a valuable exercise which brings them great enjoyment.
Loneliness can be a curse in old age, so don’t let your loved one become a recluse. Encourage them to go out to social events – your local authority will have details of activities for older people. If they refuse, then take them out shopping or for a drive around familiar places to keep them interested in life. Encourage them to continue with favourite hobbies or to develop new ones. Staying physically and mentally active is very important.