When a retired loved one moves in with you, the entire family’s lifestyle needs to adjust. It is especially true if the older adult has existing health problems. Suddenly, you have to become a caregiver and make sure that your loved one is comfortable and has everything they need. You also have to make time for your loved one, which can be challenging when you’re already busy with work, school, and other responsibilities.
It’s important to remember that caring for an elderly loved one is a challenging but rewarding experience. By making minor adjustments to your lifestyle and schedule, you can ensure that your loved one receives the best possible care. However, you and your entire family must know their roles and agree on a care plan. Here are some of the steps you might have to take.
Migrate Living Essentials to the First Floor
When caring for an elderly loved one, it’s essential to make their living environment as comfortable as possible. It means migrating essential items like the bed, bathroom fixtures, and wardrobe to the first floor. The tactic will make it easier for older people to get around and access these items when they need them.
You may also consider installing a grab bar in the bathroom and adding nonslip mats in the shower and bathtub. These additions will make it safer for your loved one to get in and out of the shower or bathtub.
The staircase is the deadliest home feature for senior citizens, so try preventing them from using it at all costs. If the older adult needs to go upstairs, install a chair lift or set up a bed on the upper level.
One of the best things you can do for an elderly loved one is to encourage them to stay socially active. It means arranging activities and outings that they can participate in, either independently or with other friends or family members.
Consider taking them to local malls, libraries, or parks. Many social clubs and groups cater to elderly adults. Your loved ones will stay mentally sharp and healthy when you keep them socially active.
As a caregiver, you must be prepared to make last-minute changes to your schedule. If your elderly loved one is feeling ill or isn’t up for participating in an activity, you may have to cancel your plans and stay home with them.
It’s also important to be flexible with your expectations. Sometimes, older adults may not be able to do certain things that they were once able to. Please don’t get frustrated; instead, find new ways for them to participate in activities. Maybe they can’t go out on walks anymore, but they can still enjoy a good book or chat with friends online.
Create a Supervision-Rotation Schedule
As a caregiver, it’s important to remember that your elderly loved one requires 100% supervision. It means that you can’t leave them alone for even a minute, and you must be available to help them with tasks like bathing, dressing, and using the restroom.
If you have other responsibilities like work or school, you’ll need to create a supervision-rotation schedule with your family members. This way, everyone has a chance to look after the older adult, and there is always someone available to provide care.
It’s also essential to make sure that the older adult has a phone or alarm system so they can contact you in case of an emergency.
Get Medical Help at Home
Many family members don’t have the time to care for an elderly loved one at home because they’re already busy with work and other responsibilities. It can make hospice care essential, as it provides round-the-clock care for elderly adults. Hospice also offers emotional support for older adults and their family members.
However, you still have roles in caring for a retired loved one despite having a home nurse. You should continue to provide emotional support and be available to answer any questions they may have about their care.
Establish Emergency Routines for Hospitalization
There’s always a chance that your elderly loved one will have to go to the hospital. When this happens, it’s essential to have emergency routines in place. It will help minimize the disruption to their daily routine and make the transition back home smoother.
You may want to consider having a hospital bed set up in your home, arranging for frequent visits from a home health nurse, and stocking up on their medication. If possible, try to keep their living environment as similar as possible. It might be more costly, but your loved one will still be with you.
Caring for an elderly loved one can be difficult, but it’s worth it. By making minor adjustments to your lifestyle and schedule, you can ensure that they receive the best possible care. Remember to stay flexible and patient, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends and family members.