Growing old is a natural part of the circle of life, however, for many elderly people, their golden years are tainted with bad health and other issues that come along with aging, which can cause many to start to lose their independence. As the need for more frequent care grows and older people become increasingly unable to do the things that they once enjoyed, it can take a huge toll on their mental health leading to heightened stress levels and even feeling dejected and depressed.
For many families who have an elderly relative, the key to keeping them happy and enabling them to enjoy their old age as much as possible is to help them to retain their independence, such as staying in their own home rather than moving into a care facility, and providing them with as many opportunities as possible to engage in the activities and hobbies that they enjoy. However, for an elderly person who requires a lot of care, achieving this is not always the easiest of tasks. We’ve listed some of the best things that you can do to help your elderly loved one remain independent and live life to the fullest during the precious time that they have left.
#1. Home Health Care:
To make sure that your relative’s immediate needs are met, the best thing that you can do is find a good home health care service, such as that offered by Delray Beach home health care. Rather than moving into a nursing home or other care facility, elderly people can receive the care that they need in the comfort of their own homes, which is often a lot less stressful and unsettling for them since they can remain in an environment that they are familiar with, and keep their privacy at home.
Caregivers and nurses are available 24 hours per day for your relative to call on when they need emergency help, along with regular visits, such as in the morning and evening and during meal-times, when caregivers will be on hand to assist with general tasks, help with taking medication, and support with personal care, for example. Another option is to hire a live-in caregiver; if your relative has a spare room and requires a higher standard of care than average, this could be an ideal situation as they’ll be able to remain as independent as possible whilst you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing somebody is there with them to look out for them.
#2. Encourage Activities and Hobbies:
As people age, it’s not uncommon for them to become more tired and less interested in doing the activities that they once wouldn’t have missed for the world. But, whilst it’s important to respect your relative’s decision to spend more time relaxing at home, they should also be encouraged to take part in other activities, even if it’s only once a month or more infrequently. Simple things such as joining a social group, visiting family and friends, or starting a new, undemanding hobby can be wonderful for an elderly person as long as it is not too much and does not overwhelm them.
Growing old does not just affect us physically; mental health can also be affected therefore it’s important to determine whether your relative is simply tired due to old age, or if they are feeling depressed or anxious. If you are worried that it could be the latter, then it’s important to make sure that they know they are not alone and that you will always be there to support and assist them with the things that they would like to do.
#3. Help with Physical Activity and Healthy Eating:
Even people who were once very active in their younger years can become more and more sedentary as they age. In general, people over the age of 65 can spend up to ten hours per day seated, which in turn can lead to a range of health problems and risks, including a higher risk of obesity, falls, heart disease, and even early death. Because of this, one of the best ways to help keep your elderly relative as independent as possible is to encourage them to stay physically active and look after their health.
For many older people who may already be suffering from health problems and aches or pains, exercise can help, yet it can be difficult for them to do. Thankfully, not all exercise needs to be intense; gentle, short walks, for example, can help to keep your relative active and moving, decreasing their immediate and future health risks. A pet can help with this; dogs make excellent companions for the elderly and since they require walking, will help your relative stay active and healthy. In addition, a healthy diet will give your relative the nutrients that they need for optimal physical and mental health, which will help them to remain independent for as long as possible and get more out of their golden years.
#4. Ask Neighbors and Friends to Help:
When your elderly relative was younger, it was likely the norm for communities to rally together and offer their support. Unfortunately, the modern world is no longer quite the same, however, there are many kind-hearted people out there who will be more than willing to offer their help and support to you and your relative. If they have good neighbors who they get on with well, then it’s a good idea to ask them if they will keep their eye on your relative; perhaps they could visit every once in a while to check up on them and see how they are doing. This will not only offer peace of mind to you as you’ll know that somebody else is also looking out for them, it can be great for your relative since social visits tend to be more few and far between for older people. Having somebody there who occasionally visits for a chat will help their life remain as normal as possible.
Would you like to add any tips of your own? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.