What to Keep in Mind if You Have an Elderly Relative that Needs Care

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What to Keep in Mind if You Have an Elderly Relative that Needs Care

As our loved ones age, the need for care and support often becomes a central concern for families. It’s important to provide a thoughtful and comprehensive approach that addresses the physical, emotional, and logistical aspects. This way, they can live out their latter years safely, and with dignity. 

In this guide, we’ll explore key considerations for families with elderly members in need of care.

Assess their Specific Needs

Aging comes with a range of challenges, including potential health issues, mobility limitations, and cognitive changes. It’s important to engage in open and honest conversations with your loved one. This way, you can gain insight into their current physical and mental state. 

Consider factors such as medical conditions, medication management, and any assistance required with daily activities. A thorough assessment lays the foundation for creating a personalized care plan that addresses their specific needs.

Explore Home Care Options

Many elderly individuals express a strong desire to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Exploring home care options is crucial for accommodating this preference, while ensuring their safety and well-being. Home care services can range from professional caregivers (assisting with daily tasks) to home health services (offering medical support). You need to assess your relative’s level of independence, and the necessary level of care. Next, explore how home care can be tailored to meet these specific requirements.

In Australia, there’s government funding for people over the age of 65. This way, they can continue to live in their own home, and on their own terms. If you go online looking for a home care package, specialist websites will tell you how they work, and what services can be provided. You can also read about eligibility and how to apply for an assessment.

Consider Assisted Living Facilities

In some cases, the level of care needed may surpass what can be provided at home. Assisted living facilities offer a middle ground between independent living and full-time nursing care. These facilities provide a supportive environment where residents can maintain a level of independence – while having access to assistance with daily activities, medication management, and social engagement. 

When considering assisted living, research local facilities and visit them personally. Evaluate their amenities, staff qualifications, and overall atmosphere to find the most suitable option.

Consider Full-Time Nursing Care

Professional caregivers are equipped to provide round-the-clock attention and support, tailored to the unique needs of your loved one. The constant presence of trained nursing staff can ensure that any medical emergencies or health concerns are promptly addressed. In turn, this offers peace of mind for both the family and the elderly individual.

Full-time nursing care can provide opportunities for social interaction and engagement in activities that may not be feasible at home. This can lead to improved mental well-being and overall quality of life for the elderly person. You could choose a reputable nursing facility or alternatively hire a qualified in-home caregiver. They’d ensure that your loved one receives personalized attention and assistance with daily tasks.

Address Legal and Financial Matters

Ensure that your loved one’s legal documents are up to date (including their will, power of attorney, and advanced healthcare directives). Discuss their financial situation – including income, savings, and any potential long-term care insurance they may have. 

Engage in open conversations about their wishes and preferences. If necessary, consult with legal and financial professionals to ensure all necessary arrangements are in place. This can provide peace of mind for both the elderly individual and their family.

Prioritize Their Emotional Well-Being

Aging can bring about feelings of isolation, loss, and uncertainty. Regular communication, companionship, and involvement in joy-bringing activities can significantly contribute to their overall happiness. 

Consider engaging in shared hobbies and facilitate social interactions with friends and family. Also, explore local senior centers and community events. Addressing the emotional aspect of care is essential for promoting a sense of purpose and fulfillment in the lives of elderly individuals.

Remain Flexible and Adaptable

The needs of elderly individuals can change over time due to various factors, including health fluctuations and evolving circumstances. Regularly reassess your loved one’s needs and be willing to adjust the care plan accordingly. 

This may involve modifying living arrangements, exploring new care options, or addressing emerging health concerns. This ensures that your elderly relative receives the most effective and appropriate care throughout their aging journey.

It’s also important that you receive support as a caregiver. Whilst this can be a challenging season, it’s reassuring to know you’re doing your best. Your elderly relative will benefit from your kindness as they live out their remaining years. 

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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