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How to Care For the Elderly

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How to Care For the Elderly

Caring for one's elderly relatives is, for most, a labor of love, something that we've intended for a long time. For some, there are financial aspects that can also lead to this decision. Regardless of why you are caring for your elderly relative, you're likely to wonder how to care for the elderly. This task is complex, but following these tips make it infinitely easier.

Plan, Plan, Plan!

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This should, preferably, start before the elderly relative becomes your responsibility. You should decide where the relative will stay...or if you will live with the relative. You should also make plans for how to transport the relative, who will watch the relative when you can't, and how you can afford to pay for another person in your household.

Keep Them Moving

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And we're not just talking calisthenics here. The elderly are generally happier when they can get a few things done, and move around some in the process. If they're able to, take them on short walks on easy-to-walk-on routes, such as malls or park sidewalks. Let them putter around the garden, or even (lightly) tidy up their own room. For those who can't, stretches in bed or even folding laundry in a chair might make them feel better.

Watch All Aspects of Their Health

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Most people know that you need to watch out for the elderly's physical health. However, not a lot of people keep an eye on their mental health. The elderly are just as susceptible to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, as anyone else. In fact, if their condition has deteriorated substantially, they might be more at risk.

Talk to Their Medical Professionals

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You'll need to begin building up a relationship with the medical professionals that are most involved in your relative's life. This means that you should speak to not only their physician, but their nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, and home health aids, as well. This will make it easier to communicate with them about your relative's health easier in the future.

Discuss Finance and Legal Issues

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Firstly, finance. Before you can bring your relative into your home, or move into theirs, you'll need to decide how to accommodate the extra expense. You'll also need to be able to pay for medical expenses. As for the legal issues, you'll need to be sure that you have the medical (and, perhaps, legal) power of attorney for them, so that you can make decisions on their behalf.

Share Personal Time

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This might seem like common sense, but a lot of people get so caught up caring for the person's medical needs that they forget that they are, in fact, a person. The elderly do better both mentally and physically if they have a strong emotional attachment to their loved ones. Share a meal, take a walk, or just have a conversation with them.

Realize When You're Over Your Head

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Not everyone is cut out to take care of the elderly on a long-term basis, and not every elderly person can be taken care of by a non-professional at home. There are times where it is best for the both of you to put them into a facility that can see to your needs. If that is the case with you, then do so with no guilt.

Caring for the elderly can be both challenging and rewarding. By following these simple tips, you can keep them healthy, happy, and feeling loved.

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