6 Ways You Can Support An Older Family Member
If you are reading this article, you will likely have an older family member you want to support in some way but don’t know where to start. Supporting an older family member can take many forms. For example, it could come from emotional support and companionship, or it could be about how you can support their physical needs.You will want to do all you can to support them, as they will greatly benefit you. Continue reading this article to learn six ways to support an older family member.
Provide Them With Transportation
Some older people are no longer able to drive. They may still be able to drive but have difficulty driving and would prefer not to do it. While they can get busses to help them get around, they may prefer a more personal touch. You can offer to help drive them to places, such as doctors’ appointments or trips to the shops.
You should speak to them to find out what transportation needs they require. They may not need too many trips, but any support you can offer them is likely to be very appreciated, so you should find out. Not only should you help drive them to places, but you should also go with them in general so that you can hang out further and provide companionship.
Spend More Time With Them
Companionship is key for any human. Some older people become quite isolated sometimes, and they crave social time. As such, you should try to spend more time with your older family members, especially if they live in the same area as you. Not only will this be good for them, but it will be good for you, as you will be able to learn from them directly and lean on their experience.
You will both be able to benefit from each other. There is likely a wide range of activities that you can engage in together. For example, you could both play some games, watch some movies, go on a walk, or do some hobbies that you have in common. The main takeaway is that you should be spending time with them so that they don’t feel as lonely.
Get Them Support Equipment
As your family member has gotten older, they may have lost some mobility capacities. They may still be able to get around, but they may need extra help. As such, you should advise them on what support equipment will benefit them. It could come in the form of a cane or something to take the full weight off some legs when walking.
For some older folk, a mobility scooter will be just what they need, but they may not know where to find one or where to start looking. In situations like this, you should offer some assistance and help point them in the right direction.
For example, you could help them navigate the website of Motability powerchair providers such as Mobility Solutions. They have powerchairs on their site, so you should be able to find one that your family member will be pleased with. Ensure they are involved in the discussion, so they can find a powerchair with which they are happy.
Ensure They Have Access To Resources
It would be best if you worked with the elders in your family to help ensure they have access to the necessary resources. There is likely a wide range of resources that an older family member may be eligible for. There will be care services in the area that can provide home support, and there will be benefits that you can sign up for.
One benefit for older folk is that they can get a free bus pass, which allows them to travel on public buses for free. You should do your research alongside your older family member to advise them on what will help and what they could be eligible for.
You may have to contact local authorities or care services on their behalf. If you have to do this, ensure you keep them in the loop, so they know what’s going on. Keeping them in the loop will involve you speaking to them about what resources are available and them telling you what resources they would like. Find common ground, and work together.
Encourage Them To Stay Active
Some adults, as they get older, may become less active. This can lead to both physical and mental decline. Due to this, you should work with them and encourage them to stay more active. There are numerous physical activities for older adults, from simple light activity tasks such as moving around the home and making a cup of tea to going on walks around the town.
Older adults should ensure they know their activity levels and what they can do. If older adults are unsure of their capabilities, then speaking to their GP may be best. A GP can offer a more personalised plan that covers their health and activity levels.
Adults aged over 65 should aim to be physically active every day in some capacity. As mentioned, this could be just for getting up for a walk around the house, but it could even be any light activity. If possible, older adults should do activities which improve strength, flexibility, and overall balance at least two times a week. Older adults should try to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity each week and reduce time spent sitting down where possible.
If an older family member has recently had a fall, you should support them where possible before encouraging them to be active again so they can recover fully. Create a recovery plan, in conjunction with their doctor, so that they can be walking around and being active again sooner rather than later. In general, helping them with their healthcare will also be in your best interest, as they may require additional support.
Assist With Their Finances
As well as their healthcare, it would be best if you tried to assist the elders in your family with their finances. Some older adults may have difficulty managing their finances, especially with technological concerns and financial software and apps. Technology can be overwhelming for someone who has never had to deal with it.
You should try to work with them to help them get used to the technology. If they can’t do this, you should assist them with budgeting, paying bills, and managing their investments in general. Sit with them, review bills and statements, and offer as much relevant advice on their finances as possible.
There may be specialised groups that can work with your elderly family members with their finances. If your family members live in a specialised care home, then the financial situation should be explained as early as possible so that you know how much you need to pay. Follow the tips outlined throughout this article, and you should have more of an idea of how you can provide support.