How to Care for a Loved One in Their Later Years

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As loved ones get older, they have to endure some significant life changes. You’ll have to share some of the good times, but also some of the more challenging times as well. Many of the changes will be emotional ones, but some will be practical, for example, applying for legal guardianship in AZ.

As a caregiver, these times can be very challenging, but it’s important to remember they are just as tough for your loved one. Whether you’re the one left making all the decisions or people are helping you shoulder the burden, there are some things you can do to get ready for such changes. The more prepared you are, the better able you’ll be to handle whatever comes your way.

Keep Care at Home Whenever Possible

You don’t have to care for a loved one all on your own, especially if they stay in their own home or live with you. There are lots of home care options for older adults and their loved ones. It might mean home visits or possibly just telehealth appointments.

If you want to know what is available and what your home care options are, AARP.org should be able to help. It is one of the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations in the US and focuses on issues affecting those over the age of 50.

Whatever services you organize, it’s essential that they’re coordinated, from the person who comes in once a week to clean right up to your loved one’s primary care physician.

Practice Person-Centered Care

Encourage your loved one to take an active role in their own care. They should be making their own decisions about what type of care they receive, how and when they receive it.

Provide Opportunities for Social Inclusion

Isolation can be a major cause of emotional distress for the elderly. It’s therefore imperative that you create opportunities for your loved one to play an active role in the community as well as in your family.

Keep Abreast of New Technologies

When it comes to the care of a loved one, new technologies can make a big difference to every aspect of their care. For example, safety monitoring systems that are connected to a coordinated care network will help to keep them safe. In addition, FaceTime appointments with health care professionals mean they don’t have to leave the safety and security of their home.

Explore Insurance Options

If you’re worried about the possible cost of care, it’s worthwhile exploring long-term insurance options. How long-term care is paid for depends on your loved ones’ financial situation and the services they’ll be using. Payment sources might include personal funds, private financing options, or government programs.

Medicare is a Federal Government health insurance program that pays some medical costs for people age 65 and older. Some people may qualify for Medicaid. This is a combined Federal and State program for low-income people and families. The program covers medical care costs and some types of long-term care for people with a limited income.

Take Care of Yourself

Caring for a loved one in their later years can be very challenging. Recognizing what the challenges are and making good use of any available resources is vital. The challenges you  may have to face could include:

  • Increased stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulties at work/absences
  • Financial strain

Some of your options might include online support networks and activities that help to relieve your tension and stress. Take whatever opportunities come your way to take some time away from your loved one. There’s no reason why caring for them has to be a 24/7 job.

Learn About and Practice Mindful Communication

There’s one conversation you need to have with your loved one, no matter how painful. End-of-life care is a delicate topic, but there are tools and resources available online that will help you talk to your loved one about the treatment available, what they want to receive, and where they’d prefer to receive it.

Provide a Safe Environment

The environment you provide for your loved one should encourage their autonomy and independence, mitigate any risk of harm or injury, and above all, feel like home.

They might, for example, need a bathroom and bedroom on the first floor, so they don’t have to climb stairs. Any stairs they have to climb might need railings on both sides.

Follow these steps if you want your loved ones to age as independently, vibrantly, and comfortably as possible.

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