It’s a genuine tragedy that many older people, even in the developed world, aren’t being cared for the way that they should. People who have worked their entire lives, who should be able to spend their retirement relaxing and enjoying themselves are often left without adequate care or worse. Of course, if there are older people in your life that you really care about then you’re not going to want that to happen to them. Luckily, there are plenty of things that you can do to make sure that any older relatives that you love get the best care possible as they enter into their golden years.
Care at Home
Just because someone needs care doesn’t mean that they need to lose their independence. A lot of the time older people can get by just fine on their own, with just a little extra help now and then. It’s very important to help older adults remain independent as long as possible. One way to do this is by engaging help that will come into the home of your elderly loved one and assist them in the activities they are no longer able to do. There are specialized care workers who are trained to help older people with certain tasks that they might not be able to do as well anymore without taking away their independence. You can contact your local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to find assistance.
AAAs coordinate and offer services that help older adults remain in their homes – if that is their preference – aided by services such as Meals-on-Wheels, homemaker assistance, and whatever else it may take to make independent living a viable option. By making a range of options available, AAAs make it possible for older individuals to choose the services and living arrangements that suit them best.
One of the issues your older relative may be facing is the upkeep of a large home which can be taxing on their finances as well as their physical health. This may be the time you talk with them about downsizing to a more manageable size home or moving into a retirement village. Check out Village Guide to see retirement villages that offer older people as much independence as possible while still providing them with specialized, personal care so that they are always happy and comfortable. Choosing to live in an assisted living home of this kind needs to be their decision, so the best thing to do is to take them to see it beforehand so that they can see first-hand what it’s like and make the decision for themselves.
Of course, sometimes the time comes when you have to make a tough decision. Sometimes an older relative simply isn’t in a position to live independently anymore. It can be an incredibly difficult thing for them to come to terms with but it’s important that the right decision is made for their sake. You might have the image in your mind of nursing homes as places filled with miserable people being mistreated and neglected, but in reality, many nursing homes offer a safe place for many seniors to live happily and comfortably without having to deal with many of the responsibilities that they would have struggled with living independently.
If you do find yourself in the situation that you have placed your elderly relative in a nursing home that is not properly caring for them, you might need to know what your rights are. You can get the information from consulting a lawyer or contacting the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in your state.
Care in Your Home
Of course, you might want to take a more directly responsible role for the care of an older person in your life. This is often the case if it’s a parent or someone you’re very close to. It’s also an option that you might want to look into if they aren’t in a position to be able to afford the kind of professional care that a nursing home can offer. The care that you offer could be something as simple as taking the time to see them a couple of times a week to help clean their home or help them cook their meals. Of course, if they need more support than that many people choose to move older relatives in with them so that they can offer as much care and support as possible. If you choose to do this then make sure to discuss it with your family first to make sure that it’s a decision that everyone is comfortable with.
It may be overwhelming at times to think about our parents aging or a close relative needing care but there is support. Reach out and contact local agencies and support groups. There is help out there you just have to ask.