by Moment Moore
Caring for an elderly loved one is both challenging and rewarding. There are some things that you can do to prepare for your transition into the role of caregiver. With just a little planning and preparation, you can make the transition as smooth as possible for yourself and your family. These 5 tips can help.
The first step in caring for an elderly loved one is to talk about the changes with your family and the new member of the home. The change from living independently to living with a whole family is a huge difference for your elderly loved one. Take the time to talk about what kind of things your elderly family member expects and desires from the new situation, and about your own feelings regarding the situation. Good communication can help you deal with problems effectively and will maintain peace in your home.
Having an elderly loved one move into the family home will definitely require some adjustments. If your family member has mobility issues, you will need to evaluate your home to determine whether grab bars and other safety equipment is needed. Insurance may pay for all or some of the costs of this type of equipment if there is a proven medical need for the things you install. The bath and kitchen are generally the most important areas to update when there is a member of the home with impaired mobility. Wheelchair accessibility may also be needed. Ramps are easy to build and should be installed on both the front and back entrances of the home.
Doorways and hallways may also need to be altered to accommodate a wheelchair. Some families will need to provide a first floor bedroom for their elderly loved one rather than a second or basement level room for safety reasons. A first floor bedroom that is conveniently located near the bath and other common living spaces can also reduce the amount of remodeling needed to make entrances in the home appropriate for a wheelchair, which is important if you are on a budget and need to minimize the amount of home renovations you need for your loved one.
Caring for an elderly loved one is most challenging when your family member needs full time care and you have a career or other responsibilities. Seeking help is a step that many families avoid, often because they fear for their privacy and independence as a family unit. There are a diverse range of options available that allow you to maintain your privacy, such as day centers for seniors and home health aides that leave at night, but that also provide you with the assistance you need to care for your loved one.
Caring for an elderly loved one brings many surprises and rewards along with unexpected illnesses and changes in plans. You should schedule your time as well as you can by allowing some extra time for outings, doctors visits, and other common delays. It is also a good idea to save a few vacation days during the year to ensure you will be available in the case of an emergency. You will be glad you have the extra time if you need to take a day off work for unexpected events.
Talk to Others
The challenges and rewards of caring for an aging family member can make you feel isolated at times. Join a support group for caregivers to meet others facing the same challenges as you. Most community centers offer free support groups, but you can also search for a group in your local area by speaking to your family’s elder advocate or by checking online for groups in your local area.
This article was written by Moment Moore, the primary writer for the Insurance Rates and Education site, www.ired.com, which focuses on homeowners insurance and personal safety information.
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