In the UK, the ageing population has been increasing over the decades as improvements in healthcare are leading to people living much longer lives. In the 15 years up to 2019 Age UK said the number of centenarians had increased by 85% and that by 2030 one in five people will be aged 65 and over, accounting for 21.8% of the overall population.
Of course, with an ageing population comes a number of considerations you may not have considered, such as looking after elderly relatives who require care. Sometimes, these relatives may have to move into your home. Below, we’ve outlined advice on everything from dressing and keeping active to hygiene and even mobility solutions for those who currently look after elderly relatives at home, or may have to in the future.
One thing that can happen to many elderly people is a decrease in mobility, which could be the main reason for the individual coming to live with you. In this instance, you’ll have to ensure your home is equipped to help them manage. If you have a room downstairs where they can live, this should be used as their room. However, this may not be an option and getting up the stairs can be difficult. Therefore a stairlift will have to be installed. You’ll also need to ensure there are rails in areas to ensure they can hold on and keep themselves steady, such as in the bathroom, while professionals should be able to teach you how to assist with movement such as lifting if needed. Also, ensure you remove clutter at all times to prevent accidents from happening. For further assistance, there are plenty of clothing items, such as slippers that can be worn indoors specially designed for those with mobility issues.
Sometimes dressing may become difficult meaning you’ll have to help. The most important thing to remember here is that the person may feel embarrassed at a loss of independence, therefore, patience will be key in helping. One way you can help is to introduce new clothes that don’t require too much effort, such as elasticated waists, slip-on shoes, Velcro and shirts that will only require buttoning by you if needed.
When someone has mobility issues, their health can become an issue. Therefore it’s important that you ensure they get up and out of bed each day, while some may have to learn how to move individuals during the night to help prevent bedsores. Incontinence may also be a problem if there are other health issues aside from mobility ones. Ensuring you have plenty of sanitary products such as pads, bed protectors, hand gel and foam will really help with this, while fitting seats and rails into showers will provide much-needed assistance.
Finally, making sure your loved one gets some exercise is a must. Helping them in and out of a car could be tricky if you don’t learn how, but will become easier after time. Even if they can’t get out for too long, a simple walk into the back garden will help to make all the difference.
So, don’t be worried when it comes to looking after an elderly loved one as there are plenty of things to do, which aren’t as difficult as they may seem, to help them out.