Tips for Caring for Senior Family Members

As family members age, you might start to worry more about their wellbeing. Everyone experiences aging differently and needs will vary. If you feel responsible for the wellbeing of an aging relative, you can provide support, whether by simply keeping them connected with the world around them or arranging for others to provide more specific care. 

At Home

A house or apartment might start to feel less like a home as a person ages. Mental and physical difficulties can make someone’s home seem suddenly unfamiliar and uninviting. Bring vitality back to the space by ensuring that photos and keepsakes are clean and on display. When you visit your relative at home, share stories, food, and companionship. Listen. It can mean a lot to an elderly person when others pay attention. Perhaps as you listen, you’ll discern other needs. If physical movement has become difficult for the person, look into small adjustments. In a bathroom, adding a shower chair and some safety bars could make a huge difference, adding security while preserving some independence. Later on, as the individual ages, you might want to consider additional care, such as elderly home care Massachusetts. Speak about changes before introducing them.

In the Community

Adults can maintain and even grow relationships in their older years. Some will find comfort and community by continuing to attend religious services. If it’s difficult to attend services in person, you can see if rides are available or if home visits are offered. Similarly, older adults can continue to engage with clubs, much like they might have done during college. Many cities have gardening clubs, knitting clubs, and book clubs. Check out the local library’s calendar or social websites for ideas you can suggest. 

With Technology

Use technology as a means of connection and entertainment for your family member. A tech-savvy relative might just appreciate receiving regular phone and video calls. If your loved one needs more support, however, make sure that you or a helper can spend the extra time to set up anything. A lifelong reader with vision troubles might enjoy listening to books on tape. Someone who once traveled the world might enjoy watching travel shows. Work out what would make this person the happiest, asking for permission before you introduce new things. 

Ask for help as you need it. People have different interests and different opinions about remaining independent. You might not understand some of your relative’s responses to aging, but you can listen and acknowledge any needs. Remain supportive, kind, and open. 


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