Caring for Elderly Relatives in the home
It is a well-known fact that people are living longer these days and more families are trying to keep their elderly relatives at home wherever possible. This is great if it is safe for them to stay with family or in their own home but it is by no means easy and should be carefully considered before settling on a decision. Here are just a few of the things you need to consider:
Making changes in the home
As mobility deteriorates you may need to consider converting a downstairs room in your home to accommodate your elderly relative. They may need specialist mobility furniture to keep them comfortable or to help them continue with some independence such as a riser recliner so they can stand from a seated position without help. The Mobility Furniture Company has everything you could possibly need and will provide great advice about how to make life easier for the caregiver and the elderly.
If you don’t already have a downstairs bathroom then you may need to change a room to provide the necessary facilities or consider an extension (where possible). One other option is to add a stair lift but again this could be costly.
It won’t be a walk in the park
Take stock and think about all of the things that you will need to do for your relative? Write a list going through a typical day and then remember to factor in some of the ad hoc things like GP/Hospital appointments, night care, grocery shopping and personal hygiene. Will you be able to do all of these things alone? Will they fit alongside your work/family commitments? Will you need to hire external help?
Don’t forget yourself
This isn’t a selfish consideration, you do need to consider the effect that caring for an elderly relative could have on your own health. Are you strong enough to lift them without damaging yourself and/or them? When will you get time for yourself? What happens when you want to go away for a holiday or if you fall ill yourself, who will care for them then?
Sharing the caregiving responsibility with other family members
If you have siblings living nearby consider whether it is possible for you to share the responsibility of caregiving. Could you take it in turns to live with your relative for a few months at a time rather than having them live with you? If the care can be divided then you need to take the time to sit down and discuss all aspects of care needed. Perhaps draw up a schedule so that everyone knows what is expected of them and when.
Know what help is available
One great resource to check out is Age UK who advise you on the financial support available to carers in the home, the benefits which can be claimed and any support you can apply for from your local council. They will also be able to provide you with information on how to protect your own state pension.