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How To Be There For Your Elderly Relative As They Age

As your parents and other elderly relatives get older, it’s only natural that they will need a little more help and support from you. It is not always easy to know the best way to assist them without taking away their independence, especially because they may be reluctant to ask for – or even accept – your help.

Check out the following advice for some ideas of how you can be supportive without coming across as overbearing or condescending. 

Help with household chores

Daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning can become more challenging with age, so giving your relative a hand with them can make a big difference. One way to ensure that they don’t feel useless or like they’re a burden on you is to share the work with them where possible. Let them continue with the tasks they can handle while you take care of those they struggle with.

Encourage them to stay mentally and physically active

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘use it or lose it, and this definitely applies more as you get older. To help your elderly relative stay fit, healthy, and mentally competent for as long as possible, try to encourage them to keep active. For example, invite them to go on a walk in the countryside with you, or buy them a puzzle book.

Make adjustments to their house

One way to help your elderly relative remain living in their own home for longer is to make some practical adjustments to the property. This could include installing a stairlift, putting grab rails in the bathtub, switching to lever taps rather than ones that you need to twist, or fitting some night lights. These kinds of changes can ensure that your loved one retains their independence even as they age.

Discuss the option of assisted living

In the majority of cases, there will come a time when you can no longer care for your elderly relative by yourself, and they won’t be able to continue living independently. At this point, a high-quality care home such as Signature at Caversham is worth considering. Raise the idea early on so that your mom or dad has time to get used to the prospect and doesn’t feel forced into it.

Visit them frequently

Loneliness and social isolation are major concerns for seniors, so one of the best ways to help your elderly relative is to be there for them. If you live nearby, try to visit as frequently as you can – even if it’s only dropping in for a short time. For those who live far away, phone calls and video chats can be a great alternative. This is a particularly important point if your mom or dad lives by themselves.

Ensure safety is a top priority

Safety becomes a much greater concern as people get older, so take some steps to address this. For example, your local fire department may be able to check and fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors free of charge. You can get a wearable emergency button that your relative can press if they have a fall or any other problem.

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