We don’t always like to focus on it, but as our parents or elderly relatives age, the duty of care starts to switch back again. As our loved ones get older, they might have more health issues, become less mobile – and they rely on their family, friends, and other care workers to keep them safe, clean and cared for.
It can be tricky to decide when you need to step up and when you need to step back; most of the time, a lot of pride will come into play. No matter how good your relationship is, you might struggle to let your elder loved ones let you take care of them.
One of the most important things to do with your relatives is to have plenty of conversations. Over time it is more likely that they will become more forgetful and need more support. You can discuss their wishes in advance and make sure that everyone is clear on the care plan as they age.
You’ll need to cover things in the will, how the home should be dealt with if they want to move to a care facility or age in place. Another important aspect is what they want to happen with their funeral, checking out places that have a great reputation in advance like Compassionate Funerals.
As we age, our appetite can decrease, and when combined with other health issues, it can be more difficult to get the nutrition we need.
When things like memory issues arise, elderly people might forget to eat regularly.
So when it comes to taking care of your elderly relatives, keep in mind that you might need to adjust their diet so that what they eat contains as many nutrients as possible.
Keep in mind that calcium and vitamin D become more important after the age of 70 to help protect the bones.
When considering portion sizes, look for ways to add calories without adding too much in terms of extra food.
Social interactions and connections are even more important as we get older; however, isolation can happen quickly since mobility issues, and other health issues also come into play.
Help your relatives go to local community centres, take classes designed for the elder, or have regular visitors lined up throughout the week.
It is vital that they have some social connections and conversations often, as this can help their cognitive functions.
Keep in mind that while many family members might be well-meaning, some of their actions or words might act against what is best for your loved one. Keep all of the relationships that keep autonomy and dignity in place as the most important.
As our loved one’s age, it can be difficult to maintain how we saw them as we were growing up and compare them to how they are now. Try to focus on spending time in the best way possible because no matter the circumstances – they are still them.
Sometimes aging in place isn’t an option, in which case this post can help: Choosing the right care home for your loved ones. – Three Little Z’s.