Elderly: How to Take Care of Your Older Loved Ones
Taking care of an aging parent or grandparent can be a complicated thing. Aside from the emotionally-charged issues of deciding whether or not your older loved one needs help, having them admit they need help, and agreeing amongst your siblings as to the appropriate distribution of care-taking, there are also the logistical difficulties attendant to whatever distance there is between you and your older loved one. It can be overwhelming.
That being said, our loved ones need our help, and were we in their shoes, we'd hope that our children would do the best that they can do. Here are some tips, agreed upon by tweeters young and old at a MomItForward Twitter girls' night out (#gno) a couple of weeks ago, sponsored by ActiveCare, for making the process easier:
8 Tips to Care for your Older Loved Ones
- Brush up on your communication skills. It is through frequent communication, whether face-to-face or by phone, email, or even skype, that you can most accurately tell the true state of things. @FormerlyPhread says that, for her, this is key.
- If you have to put your loved one in a home or assisted living center, visit or contact him or her frequently, says @AbbeBrown. This enables you to not only maintain a good relationship with them but also make sure the staff there know that a family member is vigilant about their care, and willing to let staff know if your family member is not taken care of well.
- Consider giving them a cell phone. @WaterFairy321 says she got her grandparents a prepaid one, taught them how to use it, and programmed in her number. If that doesn't work well, get them a PAL from ActiveCare, which looks like a cell phone, but has fewer, bigger buttons, and can be programmed with family members' numbers, 9-1-1, and other important numbers. If you're not sure what the appropriate technology is to use, check out TheOnlineMom.com for tips, says @DreamFog.
- Consult a physical therapist, with your loved one, for a fall risk assessment. @RachelCooksBlog says they give good tips.
- Check out the many options available for senior taxi services in your loved ones' area. @LauraKittyTweet says this works well for them.
- As far as medication management goes, make sure your loved one has a compartmentalized pill case, a necessity according to many of our tweeters. @LindaTurner51, who has 21 prescriptions, says she leaves the lids of each compartment open after she takes the pills to help her remember that she's taken them. @KarinaWetzel says: "I love the automated pill case the @ActiveCareInc has! Perfect!"
- Also regarding medication, fill your loved ones' prescriptions for them, or at least accompany them when they get them, says @MowPow08. This can help you understand and monitor their intake better, and have a good channel of communication with their pharmacist.
- Get a white board. @RkoSully says it enables their loved ones' caregivers and family members to communicate more effectively about medications and other issues.
Every older parent or grandparent is different, as are the family members that take care of them, so what works for one won't work for all. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to make the responsibility of taking care of your older loved one easier for both you and them.
Do you care for an older family member or friend? What has been helpful for you?