Being a caregiver for the elderly is an honour but it can get tricky when they refuse to accept help if they feel it compromises their dignity, pride and privacy. In such situations, making decisions for them regarding their lifestyle can become a hurdle. Maintaining personal hygiene and carrying out daily routines become difficult by the day along with their increased nutritional needs. And if they have physical limitations, they would require even more care and assistance.
Here are some things to keep in mind to make your loved ones feel more comfortable and safe while you assist them.
1. Natural Conversations
The most important thing to remember while assisting an elderly person is to actively involve them in conversations and decision-making processes. This will make them comfortable and will give them a feeling of independence. Conversations can also be used as a relaxing technique in anxious situations, it can also help them recollect memories and brush up their knowledge on pieces of information.
2. Bath & Hygiene
Creating a bathing schedule for the elderly is a very crucial step in terms of their hygiene. Always make sure to keep the water ready before undressing and bringing the elder into the bathroom. Also, remember to keep their towel and clothes ready to wear as soon as they come out of the shower. Some elderly people might not have control over their bladder or bowel, so it is important to use adult diapers that are comfortable for them and won’t cause rashes.
Change these diapers regularly and make sure their skin is always dry as senior citizens are prone to infections and bedsores.
It’s best to use a natural tooth powder or toothpaste to keep their teeth clean and keep all the chemicals away. If you find it difficult to wash their hair, you can use opt for a dry shampoo that’ll serve the same purpose.
3. Declutter The Environment
Create a safe and clean environment for them, make sure that tripping hazards like rugs, cables and wires are secured with double-sided tape. Tables with pointy edges and creaky chairs must be avoided completely. It is also important to keep the house well-lit, especially in the hallways and the washrooms where the chances of falling are higher.
Also, ensure that the floors are dry at all times and small household items are not left on the floor.
Providing the elderly with the right walking devices that support their mobility is also a very crucial step in assistance.
4. Diet & Exercise
Depending on the physical abilities of your loved one set an exercise schedule for them. This could include wrist rotations, breathing exercises, yoga or even Thai-Chi. Involving in a physical activity every day can help stabilise both their mental and physical health.
Last but not least, the diet plan. Old age requires double the amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals but all these requirements have to be met in the form of elderly-friendly food. This can include flax seeds, chia seeds, high-protein cereals and nutrient-rich energy drinks. Including a range of fruits in their diet can also make a huge difference.
But before you include anything new to their diet, remember to consult their dietician/doctor.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)