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If we’re lucky, old age comes to us all.  At some point in our lives, we will all need a little extra assistance. This might be someone to drop in on us every once in a while.  Or we may need daily assistance.  There are lots of services that can help, from day care centers to residential homes, to home help.  In some cases, elderly relatives live with their families.   This can be a positive and rewarding experience for everyone involved.  However, it is not without its challenges, and there may be an adjustment period.  If this is something that your family is considering, follow our tips to ease the transition.

 

  1. Talk

With any changes in family circumstances, it’s always good to talk.  Talk it over with your elderly relative and with the rest of the family.  Make sure you listen.  It is only natural that people will raise questions and concerns.

When discussing this with your relative, don’t be surprised if they are not immediately onboard with the idea.  Look for advice on how to broach this on sites like www.agingcare.com. They may see this as a loss of their freedom.  It is important to take your time and allow them to talk about their feelings and concerns.  Enlist the help of professionals. They can also talk to them about the options that are available. Don’t be hurt or upset if they decide to go with one of the other options.  Talk it through with them and be supportive.

When talking to younger family members, let them ask questions.  Talk to them about making adjustments but reassure them.

 

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It is important that everyone understands the situation and is accepting of this prior to the move.  This will help over the coming weeks and months.  As well as talking to your immediate family, it is also important to involve extended family members.  If your relative is a parent, your siblings should be involved.  They may also be able to help.

 

  1. How Much Assistance Can You Provide?

In the early stages, it is important to consider how much assistance is needed and how much of this you can provide.  Think carefully about your own lifestyle.  Do you have a full-time job?  Do you have a young family who takes up a lot of your time?

Do they have any specific needs?  This may be general like helping with paperwork and admin.  Or it could be more personal needs.  If this is something you’re not able to help with yourself, you may want to consider enlisting the help of a home aide.

Will you need to make changes to your home?  For example, will the bathroom need to be adapted?  Can they get around using their walker or wheelchair?  There may be financial implications that you need to consider.

 

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  1. What Is Your Relationship Like?

Another important consideration isyour relationshipwith your relative.  Do you have a good relationship with them?  Or has it been problematic?  It is important to think about this because living in close quarters with someone is likely to bring up old issues.  It is not necessarily a reason to oppose the idea, but you need to consider this carefully.

 

  1. Home Adjustments

Before your relative moves in, there may be certain provisions you need to make.  Does your relative have any special requirements?  They could be related to health or mobility etc.  It is important to discuss this with their healthcare providers.  You may need to make some small adjustments to your home to accommodate them.  This could be simple things like an extra banister to aid climbing the stairs.  Or it could be a stair lift, etc.  Try to ensure that everything is in place prior to their arrival.

 

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  1. Healthcare Plan

Does your relation have a plan in place?  If not, it is important that this is addressed.  It could include provisions for their health.  For example, treatments schedules, medication, etc.  It could also include provisions for their daily care.

Often, when elderly relatives move in, it is sometimes due to a decline in health.  They may need assistance in tending to their daily needs.  There is lots of health and advice available.  The first place to start is with their own doctor.  They can recommend specialists and other services who can assist.

 

  1. Diet

When anyone is staying with your, it is important to find out about the type of food they like.  It is also important to address any specific dietary requirements they may have.  They may need to avoid certain foods, etc.  Some illnesses can cause problems with eating and swallowing.  If this is relevant to you, it is important to find out as much as you can about this.  Again, there is lots of help available.  For example, sites such as www.Thickit.com provide a range of food for people with swallowing disorders.  And your doctor or a speech-language pathologist can also provide advice.
  
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At the very least, your relative may need to consider a diet and lifestyle to support someone of advancing years.

 

  1. Routine

If you already have a busy life, and another person is suddenly added to this mix, things will need to change.  At the very least, it will be an extra person using the bathroom each morning.  There may be more cooking, cleaning, and laundry to do.  And in addition, they may need extra assistance.  It is, therefore, a good idea to put together a schedule.  Sites such as www.verywell.com offer useful insights as to how you could set this up.

Start by going through a typical day.  Think about what time you need to get up and what time each family member needs to be up.  Work out bathroom schedules and ensure everyone is aware of them and sticks to them.  And work from there.

Are there any problem areas?  Mornings can be stressful when everyone is trying to get up, showered, and dressed.  Another area can be around laundry.  Does everyone have enough clean clothes to wear?  Are the PE kits washed?  Pay attention to these areas and come up with strategies to make this as easy as possible.  Sit down with the rest of the family and discuss the issues with them.  Brainstorm ways you can get around this.

 

Simple tips are:

– Pin up a bathroom schedule for each day of the week.
– Create dedicated laundry days.
– Share the chores. Ensure that everyone gets involved and does their fair share.
– Test the schedule and make adjustments where needed.
– Don’t be too rigid. Allow for some flexibility.

 

  1. Make Them Feel Welcome

Moving into someone else’s home and entering their way of life is a big change for anyone. When this is combined with feelings of loss of freedom, and ill health, etc. it can be challenging.  For some people it is distressing.  Be aware of this when your relation comes to live with you.  Ease that transition as much as possible.  Make sure they have their own possessions around them.  Allow each member of the family to welcome them.  Don’t be angry if they are sad.  It is likely they are grappling with a lot of difficult changes and emotions.

 

  1. Social Network

Does your older relative have their own friends?  If so, will he or she still be able to stay in contact with them?  Is there anything you can do to assist this?  For example, you could set up a service like www.skype.com to allow them to keep in touch with friends.

It is also important to consider extended family members.  If a parent is coming to stay, do you have siblings?  It is important to include them in decisions and ensure they are welcome to visit.  There may be ways in which they could help out.

In addition to welcoming old friends, there may be ways to help them make new ones.  Are there any elder centers in your area?  If your relative has a hobby, are there any related clubs or groups they could get involved in?

 

  1. Take Care Of Yourself

When you’re looking after someone, most of your time is dedicated to them.  You want to make sure they are happy and healthy.  This, of course, is fine.  But you also need to take care of yourself.  Being a carer is satisfying, rewarding, and wonderful.  It is also tiring and challenging.  If you don’t look after yourself, your health could suffer as a result.  Then you won’t be able to look after anyone.  There are several ways you can look after yourself:
 

– Take a little time for yourself each day. Even if it is just an hour.
– Ask for help. Enlist the help of other family members.  You can’t do everything yourself.
– Schedule in things that you enjoy doing. Don’t let hobbies slip.
– Keep in touch with friends.
– Make sure you spend time with your partner. Plan some dates.
– Create family activities that everyone is part of.
– Eat well, even if you’re in a hurry.
– Exercise regularly.

 

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Welcoming someone into your home and taking care of them is a loving and caring thing to do.  It is something that could bring you a lot of pleasure and happiness.  Elderly relatives bring so much into our lives and those of our children.  The difficulties and challenges should not be overlooked.  However, with the right support in place it can be a deeply rewarding experience and one you can cherish.

 

 

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