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We all have the potential to be a helper or caregiver to a friend, neighbor, parent, or anyone the Lord puts in our pathway. Training is important, but having a heart for the person you care for is more than half of the battle. If you have the heart to help, then you are on your way to being a caregiver. ~Bill Greguska
Ephesians 6:2-3“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Our Parents Took Care Of Us When We Were Little.
That is why I felt that when my mom was in her 80’s when my stepdad Charley died. There was no question that I would take care of my mom as the primary caregiver for eight years. My mom made it clear that she did not want to go into a nursing home. We worked things out by moving her back into her original house where I was living. Thankfully my mom was very intellectually sharp, yet her body was breaking down from diabetes, Asthma.
If you can not take care of your parents, that is understandable, but there are many good caregiver companies that can help you with your aging parents. I am currently working at “Right At Home Caregivers,” I would highly recommend them.
If you are taking care of an elderly loved one, the biggest advice I can share with you would be, “To take care of them, as you would want them to care for you.
This is the golden rule found in Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Elderly Care For Your Parents And Loved Ones!
Here Are A Few Tips On How To Care For An Elderly Loved One!
Treat the elderly as you would want to be treated someday.
Be aware of who to call for information when needed.
Have an awareness of their diet, medication, and limitations.
Post emergency contacts, phone numbers, and addresses on the refrigerator.
Check expiration dates on medication and foods. Dispose of all medications and food properly that are no longer good or needed.
Understand the older person by getting to know them and ask questions about their life in general. Reminisce about their past.
Be aware that they have their habits and familiar ways and work around their needs.
Have a flashlight by the bed in case of emergency.
Make sure the chairs and recliners are safe and solid.
Have safety precautions such as rails, ramps, and other basics.
Consider getting a raised toilet seat. Use rubber mats in the bathtub.
If you do not know something, contact the doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or whoever specifically has the answers you need to help them.
Try to think about what they like, dislike, love, fear, and comfort them in any way you can.
In your mind, be their bodyguard, meaning make sure they do not trip, fall, or get hurt in any way.
Clearly mark the stove dials, especially the OFF position, with tape or nail polish.
Have fun with them and share parts of your life with them when appropriate, but do not weigh them down with your problems.
14 Tips for Elderly Care at Home
You need to plan well ahead about how you will be taking care of your aging seniors. The best way to go is to –
Equip your home to make it elderly ready
Ensure health and safety of the elders
Help with money issues and protection of funds
Help the elders get socially connected
Let me explain each point with some practical tips from Panpihtu.com
Equip Your Home
If you have elders staying at home, then you need to prepare the home for them. However, most seniors prefer staying on their own because they don’t want to be a burden on their kids.
In such cases, where they plan to stay independently, you need to –
1. Make changes in the house
Making small changes in the house can save a lot of trouble. Like you can take care of the following –
Remove all kinds of cluttered extra furniture lying around the house that might make it difficult for your elders to move around freely.
Have grab bars near the toilet and the shower. I know they don’t look good – but are a must.
Smoke detectors with a vibrate feature or with strobe lighting can wake up seniors when conventional devices wouldn’t.
Anti-scald devices for shower and faucets – as these protect older skin and prevent serious burns. Or set the water heaters at 120 degrees – to a “low” temperature.
Ensure all cables and wires are tucked away to prevent slips or falls.
Install non-skid mats, strips, or pads in the toilet, bathtub or shower, and other slippery areas of the house.
Carbon monoxide detectors are suggested as elderly people are at risk of even a low concentration of the deadly gas.
Make sure there are night lights installed at strategic places around the house so that when your elders go to the bathroom or fetch water at night, they can find their way around.
There’s a lot more you can add to the list for better elderly care at home, so do that in the comments section.
2. Keep track
If your parents or elders are going to be alone at home, you need to make them comfortable and safe.
Some families use special elderly care products at home that rely on strategically placed motions sensors to keep trackof their elders.
There are no microphones or cameras used so the privacy remains intact, and these sensors send an alarm or message if anything out of the ordinary takes place.
If your parents are tech-savvy, then a mobile phone would be ideal, or then a website update every 2-3 hours would keep you less worried too.
3. Hire someone
Sometimes the distances are far and you aren’t able to be with your loved ones or elders, even though you want to.
In such cases, you can think of hiring a knowledgeable professional that you can locate from various agencies or places.
They can help by being a companion, besides helping out when your elders need them or even take them to the doctor in case of emergencies.
Thankfully, we get paid help on our end if need be, though we need to get them registered with their proper identity proof before keeping them.
4. Cater for expenses
When you take care of your elders who aren’t living with you – you need to anticipate the expenses. To maintain their health and independence, you would need to pay for a few services.
These could be a helper or caretaker if any, and the amount they would charge. Or it could also cover their health charges, routine check-ups, and their daily expenditures – if they are dependent on you.
5. Visit them often
The time you spend with your elders makes a difference to them as they look forward to being with you.
Also, if you visit them often you would know whether they are safe, living well, and emotionally sound too.
You can keep an eye open for any changes around – like if the house is unkempt, there are unopened mail lying around, plants not watered, soiled clothes, any bruises indicating they had a fall, etc.
Make sure your elders have good neighbors that can keep checking in often.
Health and Safety of elders. You need to ensure your elders are healthy and safe, and for doing that you need to take certain measures.
6. Regular exercise
It’s a well-known fact that if older people exercise regularly, they remain protected from diseases, and this makes them functionally younger by 10 to 15 years.
So, let them start with exercises that are initially light and something they can do, and later they can take up more depending on their capability.
I’m glad my Dad’s very health conscious. He plays golf daily and is very particular about his daily walks, yoga, meditation, and following a healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet too.
7. Be careful with medicines
Sometimes your elders who are living independently might have to be live under supervision due to poor medication management.
That’s because they see various specialists but take prescriptions from a single pharmacist, who might not be good and trustworthy.
You need to take care that the medications prescribed have no side effects, and don’t interact with any other medicines.
Also, make sure that the pharmacist is honest and of repute, as sometimes they can repackage pills that shouldn’t be taken by making them look all new.
Another important point is to make sure your parents or elders don’t mix up their medicines, as with old age this problem does arise.
Reasons could be many again – poor eyesight, memory problems, sleepiness, or other health issues.
Sometimes, I’ve seen my Dad take some medicines that he was supposed to take at a different time because he was preoccupied.
What you can do is label the medicines and put them in separate drawers or compartments, making it easy for your parents or elders to find them.
8. Driving problems
It’s very tough to handle parents or elders at home and tell them not to drive. Especially once age catches up and you see they aren’t able to drive as well as before.
You can see the changes when their cognitive abilities begin declining, reaction time lessens, the body stiffens, and their driving gets erratic.
For your parents or seniors, it’s rather depressing if they are told not to drive, and some even become stubborn enough and refuse to listen to you.
It’s best to sit and explain things to them, and if they still remain adamant suggest hiring a driver for them. Again, I’ve done the same for my Dad, even though he can drive – just being safe.
9. Stay away from scams
If your elders are staying away from you, they are vulnerable to a lot of scams. It could be anything from their telephone or mobile investments to their usage of credit cards.
You should get your parent’s credits cards checked up periodically, and get to know if they haven’t landed in any scam. Don’t forget to keep track of their bills too.
Money Issues and Protection of Funds
Most elders retire and face financial distress because they are living on a limited budget or fixed income. But you can help them feel better in the following ways.
10. Talk about finances
If your parents are dependent on you, then it makes sense to have open discussions about the monetary aspects.
Be open with them, seek their advice, suggest your ways, and chalk out something that works best for both sides.
You should be frank enough to let them know how much you can offer and see if it fits in well.
You need to complete all the paperwork beforehand. Like the power of attorney, just in case if you need it if your parents or elders can’t control their finances any longer.
It’s recommended that seniors add a second person with a detailed photograph, whether a friend or professional, who will also be there to keep a check on things.
Similarly, let your parents make their will and keep it in safe custody with the lawyer or with whomsoever they prefer. Your parents and elders also feel happier when all of this is done.
Get Socially Connected
With age setting in and their losses, many elders tend to become isolated and lonely, while others suffer from depression.
Take care of your elders and ensure that they somehow stay connected with the rest of the world.
12. Get the elders involved
The best way to reconnect them with the world is to involve your elders in socially useful activities. Now that they don’t have to manage kids or careers, most seniors like the opportunity to reach out and help others.
They have their years of wisdom to pass on to others. And they prefer doing this to sitting home doing nothing or just watching television.
Your parents or seniors could also join voluntary programs, or take part in educating those who need it – their way of helping others.
Sadly, there are a few elders who prefer remaining home, and this often leads to unhappiness, depression, and other ailments. That’s because they feel they don’t have a purpose in life any longer.
Life doesn’t end when they get old, and that’s something you need to convey to them.
13. Make friends
If you are busy and can’t take care of your parents and elders, it’s good for them to make friends with people of their age group.
They can do so by mixing up with others and visiting clubs, or joining common hobby courses.
Small things like going for walks together, playing games or cards, shopping, or just talking can help your elders feel better.
Remember, at their age – it’s the company they seek more than anything else. I see my mother-in-law in a similar situation, and often wish I could spend more time with her.
More so, if they have lost their spouse, their life can be very lonely.
14. Sharing meals
Your elders might have problems in preparing their own meals, or they might just lose interest in cooking. It could be due to a lack of interest, depression, or other health issues.
I read about congregate meals that often take place at senior centers. Such kinds of group meals are a lifeline to elders who aren’t able to prepare their own meals.
Moreover, they remain happy in the company of others who are also in a similar place and situation.
In 2007, when I was going through some difficult times, Ron and Sue Sauer, my pastor and his wife, encouraged me to encourage others. They were wise to know that if I were to reach out to others, my problems would be put into a better perspective. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 I have learned through all my challenges that the Lord will never leave no matter how bad things have gotten, the Lord will never leave us. I have experienced this first-hand many times. Deuteronomy 31:6 Having Jesus as my Lord and Savior has given me a new life. I pray you have experienced God's love and faithfulness in your life too, and, I encourage you to reach out to encourage others in the meantime, as I have made it a point to do via this website and the life I live for Christ. ~ Bill Greguska