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Caring for an elderly relative: What you need to know

Caring for an elderly relative

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If you have an elderly parent or another aging loved one who is developing particular care requirements, you might want to think about how you can adopt the role of carer. There are good reasons to do so and there are always reasons why you might want to leave it to professional carers instead. Before you decide to take on caring for an elderly relative and adopt those duties completely, it makes sense to think about some of the things in the discussion below. These are the things you really need to know.

Be realistic about what you can do

There are so many problems that can arise when looking after an elderly family member. If you’re not realistic about what you can actually achieve, you’re likely to make the situation more difficult for yourself and them. Care is tough, and you might not be able to do it all alone. And it’s okay to admit that.

Caring for an elderly relative: Take time to discuss the options

Communication is vital when providing care to a senior family member. After all, they’re the one who needs the assistance and it’s only right that they have a say in what happens. Be sure to put all the options on the table and make it as clear as possible that there are lots of routes that can be taken. When you do this, you can come to the right decisions together.

Care plans help

Care plans can really help, especially when they’re created collaboratively, as mentioned above. These allow you to lay out clearly what your relative’s care needs actually are and how they might best be remedied and solved. It’s something that you might want to work on with your relative’s doctor as well because they’ll be able to provide extra advice and guidance to help.

Some things aren’t pleasant

If you’re going to be looking after someone on a full-time basis, you have to accept that there are some things that simply aren’t pleasant but you might have to do them anyway. For example, changing a catheter and things of that nature are never fun. But that’s what some carers have to do, and it might be one reason to leave it to the professionals if you and your parent find discomfort in your doing something of this sensitive nature.

Think about the financial implications ahead of time

Care isn’t cheap either. Of course, the costs are higher if you choose a residential care option. But even caring for a relative in your home can be costly if you have to make adaptations to your home and things like that in order to accommodate them. It’s worth thinking the process through ahead of time and planning for the financial side of things as soon as you can.

Final thoughts on caring for an elderly relative

Taking care of an elderly relative in need of care is always a big challenge. It’s not easy to get it right and to offer your relative the level of care they need in their later stage of life. And if you realize that that’s the case, you should go ahead and get some extra help from professional carers who’ll be able to offer the necessary support.


Top photo by Sabine van Erp via Pixabay.

6 thoughts on “Caring for an elderly relative: What you need to know”

  1. I agree Christy, its easy to dive in thinking you can do it alone and you should be able to because its your mum or your dad but a caring role is never easy. So important to find time to look after yourself too as well as the person you are caring for. Help is out there but sometimes we find it hard to ask for it.

  2. A difficult decision and needs much consideration. Also important to remember what support you can reasonably give today might not be sufficient in six months time so be willing to revisit your care plan and change it if needed.

  3. I can definitely relate to this caring for an elderly myself. Make sure your mental health health is in a good condition. Somedays will be harder than others and you need patience and understanding of what they are feeling too. For those who do decide to do this. Remember to take care of yourself too. I am proud of you!

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