In most societies throughout history, families would live together throughout their entire lives. Adults looked after children and the older members of the family, waiting their turn to have the chance to retire and have the next generation take over, and this system worked well to ensure that the elderly and young didn’t have to fend for themselves.
Of course, though, the modern world is quite different, and most people don’t live with their parents for their whole life.
This leaves many older people stuck in a tricky position; they need care and support, but don’t have anyone around to give it to them. Government care options can be good for this, but there are plenty of other ways to give your family members what they need to live a fulfilling life. There are loads of ways to support the people you love, but how exactly are you supposed to go about doing this?
While it may seem a little strange, independence should always be a key focus when you’re supporting someone. Rather than doing everything for them, you should be looking for actions to take which will enable them to handle the important things in their lives for themselves. For example, if your loved one is struggling to clean themselves, you could look for ways to install a wet room or sit-in shower in their home. This would make it easier for them to take showers by themselves, limiting the amount of invasive personal care which is needed to keep them healthy.
Alongside helping someone to maintain their independence, it’s also crucial that you think about their mental health. Being stuck at home and relying on others can be a big shock to the system when someone has worked hard all their life, and it can be easy for people to become depressed or anxious when they find themselves in this position. Talking to them, taking them out on adventures, and sharing memories are all great ways to make someone like this happy, and you should be doing everything you can to provide emotional support when they need to talk to you.
When it comes to supporting an elderly family member, personal care is the most worrying area for most people. The idea of helping someone clean themselves, take medication, and handle things like food preparation can seem quite daunting, and it’s usually a good idea to pass this job to someone else. While this may seem a little cold, it will ensure that the memories you have of your loved one don’t revolve around the personal care you’ve given them. Of course, your parents and other family members would probably agree that you shouldn’t be doing this work.
Technology has provided solutions to many of humanity’s biggest problems, but a lot of people ignore the techy tools they have available to them when they are helping their loved ones. There are plenty of devices out there which can provide huge benefits to an elderly person, and many of them don’t rely on a tech-savvy brain to function. For example, hearing loss communication can be very difficult, leaving people unable to talk on the phone or in shops, but a simple hearing aid can easily solve this problem without forcing your loved on to learn anything new. It’s always worth thinking about technology when you’re dealing with problems for your older relatives.
Legal & Administration
Being unable to go out on your own, answer phone calls, or write letters can make it very difficult for someone to handle the legal and administrative side of their life. Many older people fall behind with bills and other important paperwork, and this is simply because they find it too hard, rather than lacking the funds or information to get everything sorted out. It makes sense to take over this side of their life once someone gets too old to handle it for themselves, though you have to be careful to make sure that they consent to this type of action before you make a start.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to provide support to the people you love as they get older. It can be hard to know what you need to do for people in this position, though there are a lot of tools which can help you around the web, and it’s always worth doing your research to make sure that you’re doing everything you possibly can for your loved ones.