According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, there are over 54 million Americans aged 65 and older. Chances are good that you have a loved one who falls into this group.
Many older adults are choosing to stay in their own homes, rather than move to some type of assisted living facility. This may leave them in the position of needing a caregiver.
If you are to be that caretaker, you may not know what to expect. It can be a challenge to make sure that your senior gets everything they need.
Keep reading to learn more about caring for your aging loved one.
Independence vs Assistance
Part of the reason so many older adults choose to age in place is to maintain a sense of independence. They are comfortable in their house and in their neighborhood.
Sitting down with your loved one to talk plainly about where they may need help is a great way to honor their independence. At the same time, you can get a clear picture of how you can best be of service.
Once you have a list of areas of need, you can decide the best way to manage those needs. Siblings, other relatives, or friends can be enlisted to help out. Taking on too much by yourself can cause frustration and burnout.
Keep a schedule to help everyone involved stay on track. Your elderly loved one will appreciate knowing what to expect and when to expect it.
Help from Outside
There may well be things you can’t help your loved one with. When that’s the case, it may be time to seek outside help.
If your older adult needs help cleaning the house, you can hire someone to come in and do that on a regular basis. If your senior needs physical therapy, a therapist or a nurse can come to your loved one’s home to provide it.
Daily tasks may become difficult to handle. A home health care aide can be enlisted to come help with dressing, medication, or cooking—whatever your loved one needs assistance with.
Be sure to check your senior’s insurance to see what kinds of elder care may be covered.
Know When to Step In
Your elderly loved one’s health and well-being are your top priority. If you are their primary caregiver, you’re in a position to recognize when bigger health issues come into play.
It can be very difficult to know when to step in when you realize your loved one may have a serious medical condition or has begun to have cognitive issues. The difficulty may be compounded by an elderly person’s resistance to getting help.
At this point, it’s vital to turn to professionals who can help determine the best course of action. Getting someone else involved will take some of the burdens off of you, and your senior can get the help they need.
If your loved one is beginning to have memory loss—or other signs of dementia—you can learn a lot from dementia tips available online.
Reaching Out When It Comes to Older Adults
Being a caregiver for older adults isn’t an easy task. It is, however, a job borne of love. Remember that you don’t have to do it alone. There are many resources available to you and your loved one.
Once your elderly adult is on board with the idea of getting help, don’t hesitate to reach out to your family and friends for assistance. Reach out, too, to local elder care services that will be more than happy to help make sure your loved one receives the very best care there is.
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