Caring for seniors is about love and understanding. Whether they need help a couple of times a week with the cooking and cleaning, help organizing their medication, or more detailed care, it will require patience, understanding, and a big heart. The good news is that with the proper planning, it is possible to take care of many seniors at home.
7 Tips to Keep Them Happy and Healthy
Taking care of seniors is a big task, and the more organized you are, the easier it will be. Here are some tips to help keep seniors healthy and happy:
- Establish Mental Capabilities – Seniors age at different rates. Some continue to have very sharp memories into their later years, while others might start to slowly become forgetful. Understanding your loved one’s mental capacities can help you organize their daily lives much easier. It will also allow you to measure how much care they need.
- Ask for Assistance – There is no reason that one individual should be responsible for taking care of a senior citizen at home. You should seek help from other family members, and it might be possible for friends to sit in occasionally. Taking care of the elderly can become a full-time responsibility, and unless you have help, you won’t be able to physically or mentally handle the job yourself.
- Check on Day Care Programs – In most cases, you will probably have to work during the day, and this would be a good time to send your loved one to a senior day care program. Senior day care programs provide activities to seniors during a specific time each day. There are many activities for seniors, and it gives them a chance to interact and start friendships with other seniors, as well.If a senior is healthy enough to stay at home, you should not try to force them to go every day, unless they wish. However, you will find that many seniors enjoy the companionship, and the activities keep their mind as sharp as a tack.
- Meal Planning – Some seniors can be finicky eaters. They can also develop eating rituals. A friend’s great grandmother demanded (not asked) his grandmother to prepare friend chicken every Sunday. Your loved one might have the same requests. You should always do what you can to honor their requests or demands. However, make sure that they are getting a well balanced diet, and try to keep as much variety to it as you can.
- What Does the Senior Want – The best way to get started with caring for seniors is to establish what is important for them, and what they like or dislike. If you’ve been around a parent most of your life, you will already have a good idea about what makes them happy, and topics or activities that you should avoid. However, it’s best to hear it from the source. So, you should ask the senior what they most like and what they don’t like.
- Plan a Weekly or Bi-Weekly Outing – Is there something that your loved one really likes to do outside of the house? It might be a hobby, such as fishing, bowling, or taking a stroll through the countryside. You should find the time to schedule these activities at least once every couple of weeks if you have the time. Seniors need to get out for some fresh air, too. It’s not necessary to always go to the same places, but the important part is that you are spending some quality time with them in an enjoyable setting.
- Economic Planning – You will need to help take care of your loved one’s finances when they are not capable of doing it themselves. For long term economic planning, you might consider hiring an economic planner on a per-fee basis. The important thing is to keep their finances in order, because after awhile, they could get out of hand.
Caring for Seniors – Conclusion
Caring for seniors is a family effort. It will become much more difficult to do if you don’t have some other helping hands. Unlike most cultures in the world, Americans tend to place their elders in assisted care facilities, rather than take care of them at home. There are many reasons for this, including time restraints and costs. However, seniors are usually much happier at home with other family members, so your goal should be to keep them healthy and happy at home for as long as possible.
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