We all have to face the realities of our bodies aging, but more and more of us are getting a taste of it quite early in life. This is because we need to care for aging parents and grandparents for longer these days. When the body becomes elderly and frail, it can be too dangerous to stay at home alone. Instead, vulnerable relatives need care and help to manage all their day to day activities.
When it comes to having older people in the home, adaptations are often required. They may be simple, like rearranging the furniture for easier mobility. You might change your taps, so they are easier for arthritic hands to turn. Or you may have to build a single story annex for your relative to live in. This is often preferred because it preserves independence and privacy, but you are still on hand for company and assistance.
Life can be very lonely when you are older. The hearing is often affected by the aging process, making it difficult to hear clearly. This means you can be left out of conversations or lose the thread quite easily. Hearing aids are much better these days but some people find them uncomfortable and of little help.
The body stiffens up as we age too. It makes it more difficult to stay mobile. Without good mobility, it can be difficult to maintain balance so falls may begin to happen. As the bones are more brittle, substantial injury can occur. Walking with a stick or frame may prevent falls, but it is cumbersome. It causes postural problems that add to the aches of aging.
If you have an elderly relative living with you, it’s important you provide plenty of opportunity for walking and excursions. Nobody wants to be stuck indoors each day. A short walk to the shop or around the park each day helps keep the circulation going and provides a good routine. Try to ensure old hobbies can be enjoyed. It’s good to feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction whatever your age.
Sometimes age affects the body and mind more severely. You may decide it is time to find some in home care services. These can be tailored to the individual’s needs. But they also provide you with some respite for what can be a very difficult role. Personal care, in particular, is difficult for everyone to manage. Sometimes it is best for a non-family member to take on these duties instead.
Elderly people often have different dietary requirements to active, younger adults. Swallowing can be more challenging, and taste buds are not as effective as they once were. Diet, exercise, and mental stimulation are all important to well-being. Provide smaller portions of easy to chew meals. Cooking things softer can sometimes reduce the flavour. Sauces and chutney may be beneficial. Don’t add extra salt though as dehydration can easily occur in older people.
Looking after your elderly relative is a big challenge. Sometimes it is an unpleasant experience, but your love for each other sees you through the tougher times. Take care of each other.