Understandably, many older people wish to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. If you have an ageing parent, or you care for an aunt or uncle, there is help available. Here are some tips to help you support your elderly relative at home and promote independence and healthy living.

Work with others

Caring for an older person can be draining, upsetting and time-consuming. Although you want to do your best for your loved one, it is important to have time for yourself. Work with local authorities and care providers to ensure your relative has the appropriate support. You could also ask other family members and close friends to help out. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help if you need to. If your relative is in poor health, you can liaise with their medical team, social workers and care providers. This will give you peace of mind that they are getting all the treatment and support they need.

Focus on prevention

Medical experts always say that prevention is better than cure. Although it’s impossible to keep all illnesses at bay, keeping an eye on diet and lifestyle choices can make a positive difference. Try to ensure your loved one eats well-balanced meals packed with nutrients and vitamins and encourage them to be as active as possible. Mental wellbeing is as important as physical health, so inspire and motivate them to get out and pursue hobbies and interests. Meet up with family members for lunch, find information about local groups and offer lifts if they want to see friends.

Create a safe environment

If you’re unsteady on your feet, even the safest-seeming environment can become hazardous. With the help of social services and occupational therapists, you can make adaptations to the home. This will make it safer and reduce the risk of accidents. Lowering units and installing a chairlift, for example, can encourage independence in the kitchen and decrease the risk of falls. You may also be able to get hand rails fitted and a patient lifting hoist to make bathing and getting ready easier.

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Seek advice if the situation changes

If your relative becomes more dependent or their health deteriorates, notify their doctor. Care is available to people living in their own homes and social services can arrange an evaluation. If they need help with specific tasks, such as preparing meals, visits from carers can be arranged. You can work with the carers to draw up meal plans and create a rota. By doing this, you can continue to provide care when you can, with peace of mind that somebody else is there to help at other times.

It can be difficult trying to care for an elderly person at home, but there are ways of making the process easier. There is help out there, so never be afraid to ask. Try to share caring with others close by. Seek advice if you think your relative would benefit from additional medical support or help around the house. Mobility aids and assistance with cleaning and household chores can make a big difference.