If there’s one truth about age, it’s that its mental effects are often much more vague than the physical. After all, most people know what happens as we get older – we become slower, we may need a little more help for daily activities, and we need to watch over our health more diligently.
However, it’s also true to say that how we feel about ourselves and the attitude we bring into the world can differ depending on our personality. Youthful vitality is in no way limited to age, as it’s hard not to feel jovial around an elderly person who balances wisdom and vibrance so easily.
For this reason, we may wonder how to help our beloved relatives feel their most comfortable as time goes on and their capabilities may feel reduced. But of course, it’s essential to remember that the elderly are people, not infants to be coddled or patronized. For this reason, treating them with the respect and care they deserve is an absolute prerequisite.
In this post, we’ll discuss how to help elderly relatives remain comfortable as they age:
Be Honest & Respectful, Always
Your relative knows that they’re aging and that this can come with various life changes. It’s important not to beat around the bush nor to treat them differently because of it, after all, all of us will be so lucky to reach an advanced age as getting older is a privilege. That said, it’s also true that sometimes, you have to approach the hard topics with a candid sense of openness.
For example, if they’ve been having a hard time keeping their garden in check, you might discuss the need for a gardener, or paying a neighbor’s child to come and mow the lawn from time to time with the express permission of their parents.
It may also be time to have those hard conversations. For example, if your parent has been having a tough time managing their daily life in their household, you might suggest the need for Enterprise Retirement Living, showcasing just how much more social, comfortable and relaxed they can be on a daily basis. These topics may seem difficult to approach, but not if you’re honest, open, and respectful as a matter of course. This way, you can become a natural ally of your elderly relative, and show that none of the decisions you put to them are because they’re inconvenient.
Include Them In Your Family Life
As elderly relatives get older, it’s true that they begin to lose friends and peers they may have known. This is hard on everyone. Moreover, it may be that they value time with your family more than you know.
Including your parents into your average day-to-day planning effort can make a massive difference here. Think about it – they may be a lovely addition to your life, one you cherish, but to them you may be all they have. That’s why it’s so important to keep them around, to invite them to events, to make a special effort for them to see their grandchildren on a regular basis.
As we get older we tend to become more sentimental and to care about our families much more deeply. In fact, we live for our loved ones almost more than anything else, even at a time of advancing age. For this reason, make sure to include them. They will cherish it, and the benefit of inter-generational friendship can be tremendous.
Furnish Them With Technology
Of course, the idea that elderly relatives all have trouble with technology is simply not true. Some have a great understanding and can acclimate to any new device. That being said, some may need a little more focus and attention, especially if you’re shifting to new family norms like enjoying a relative-wide WhatsApp group.
Setting up their smart television with simple features and automatic logins, purchasing them a smartphone with buttons for more tactical use, and making sure their social media privacy settings are correctly configured can make a big difference. Sometimes, spending time with them and showing them through an installation wizard can be all you need.
Including them in the modern pace of daily life will help your elderly relatives feel less left-out, even if it takes them a little while to adapt. At the very least you can communicate how and why you’re using certain devices, which can help them feel much less confused by the possibilities in front of them.
Establish A Worthwhile Routine
You’ll also find that a routine can help your relative like nothing else. As we get older we tend to thrive in predictability. Helping them set this up can be ideal. That can apply to even the smaller measures, such as making sure they take the right medication at the right time with smartphone alarms and day-divided pill boxes.
You can also set up specific visitation days where you bring the whole family along, or days of the week where you have a morning free and can walk the dog with them. This kind of care requires proximity and the need to be mutually supportive and flexible, but investing your time into this approach can greatly improve their health, quality of life, and sense of stability and structure. All of these things are essential as we get older.
Make Use Of Supportive Plans
As we get older, we may become eligible for certain healthcare subsidies. For example, if your elderly relative has mobility issues, then you may be able to find a disability-focused plan for a chair or walking aid.
Making sure you help them fulfill their eligibilities and entitlements can be a big help, be that a large discount on a stairlift, or enrollment into local activities and exercise classes. It’s important to accept that we have our own lives to live as well, and that you can’t look after your relative 100% of the time unless they’re in need of care.
However, you can soften the blow of such a realization when services like this are here to help. You can check what your elderly relative might be entitled to by communicating with your local health authority and elderly support centre in your community.
As we get older and move into retirement, our days become freer than ever. Sometimes, however, this can be as harmful as it is comfortable. We all need a purpose to keep going no matter our age.
In this case, planning out and supporting your elderly relative’s social life is key. We’ve already discussed inviting them to your family events of course, but more can be done. Luckily, your elderly relative is unlikely to be the only elderly person in their local community.
Local support groups, centers, hobbyist groups, and more can be a great way for them to meet friends, though you might need to attend with them to start. It’s nice to help our relatives expand their general sense of connection and stability in the community. The more you can subtly promote a healthy social life on their end, the less they’ll feel like sitting around in their house or feeling disconnected from everyone. That, like nothing else, can improve their quality of life and give them multiple reasons to belly laugh day after day.
With this advice, you’re certain to help your elderly relatives remain comfortable with age as time goes on. With a little care and attention, you may be surprised just how much your relative comes out of their shell, and blossom like you hope they would.