If you are looking after a loved one who is either poorly or cannot function to the same degree due to old age, it can take its toll on everyone involved. There are, however, many things you can do to make it easier for everyone and ensure that you or they don’t get overwhelmed. Here are 4 tips on looking after an ill or elderly relative at home.
Make sure they have a dedicated space in the home
If your relative has only recently come to stay with you to be cared for, they must have a dedicated space to spend time and sleep in. If they are ill, they may need or want to spend much of their time sleeping or relaxing, so try to make their bedroom as functional as possible.
Set up a TV in their room and, if possible, somewhere that they can play or stream music when they want to. Making them feel at home and comfortable is a great benefit to them and will ensure minimum disruption for the rest of your family.
Who will provide day-to-day care?
This very much depends on whether your relative is very poorly or whether they merely need a little bit of extra help. If, for example, they are very ill, it may be that you require external professional assistance to deal with things like bed changes, getting them dressed, or giving medication.
If you do intend to do a lot of this yourself, it’s a good idea to get some medical assistant apparel. Not only are they lightweight and very comfortable for moving around in, but will also minimize the risk of infection.
Remember that you need some downtime too
Providing care to a relative can be very tiring and emotionally draining, so make sure that you aren’t overdoing it as that won’t help them or you in the long run. If you feel that it’s becoming overwhelming, ask someone else to step in for a while and go for a walk or have a nap.
Your health and wellbeing are also important, so although you may feel that you have to be on call 24/7, listen to your body, and be mindful of what it needs. The last thing you want is to become ill because you feel so worn out.
Talk to them
If your relative has been used to living elsewhere, they may be struggling with their new surroundings or feel lonely, so try to talk with them when you can. If they feel up to it, suggest that you look through old photos or talk about the family memories you both have.
Talking is not only a great way to pass the time but, if they are ill, is a great way to keep their mind of other things and give them a focus. You never know – you might also find out some family history that you weren’t even aware of.
Article by John Moran