There are a few responsibilities in life we cannot neglect, and one of them is to care for the elderly in our family.
This is a special and unique role of a caregiver that you have to undertake, to look after your elderly parents or a relative in old age.
It is a very rewarding experience, one that will remain with you as pleasant memories for years to come even after they’re gone to the great beyond.
Caring for an elderly person is not an easy task and it can bring some amount of stress and worry on the caregiver.
The hard work is compounded if the person is disabled. We often take our own health for granted and forget to take proper care of ourselves.
But, when we are given the responsibility to look after our elderly parents, we have to take it seriously and consider many factors, and this includes their overall health.
Apart from setting aside adequate money for hospice billing, here are a few tips that can help to safeguard the health of the elders in your care.
HOW TO SAFEGUARD THE HEALTH OF YOUR ELDERLY PARENTS
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet in respect to the elderly is really important.
The older people have weaker immune systems and are more prone to illness than others and a healthy, nutritionally complete diet can keep disease at bay.
Avoid fatty foods and high amounts of salt in their diet as this slows down any possible recoveries from illness.
Too much salt makes the circulatory system function sluggishly and fats can clog the arteries.
Instead, the diet should contain plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for the regeneration of tissues.
Make sure that they get a sufficient amount of fiber in their diet to promote good bowel movement and healthy metabolism.
#2 Mental health:
The state of the mental health of the elderly individuals is a great concern for the caregiver.
You have to make sure that they are comfortable in their surroundings and you can achieve this by allowing family members to visit frequently.
Creating a regular routine will help them relax and also give them a sense of familiarity with those around them.
Elderly people often try to cope with the sudden changes happening in their lives.
This may result in sadness, depression or anxiety that should be taken care of with empathy and understanding.
#3 Physical health:
As a caregiver, you have to ensure that the elderly person in your care gets regular health check ups.
Any changes that arise should be brought to the attention of a doctor immediately.
This will be helpful in diagnosing problems quickly and the routine of the health checks will help the older person to relax and thus improve their general health.
It may not be possible for all elderly individuals to exercise as this depends on their physical conditions.
However, 15 to 20 minutes of light exercise can do wonders for their general well being.
Walking around the neighborhood or walking the dog or backyard gardening can be an exercise for older people.
You can also take the elderly in care outdoors for fresh air as often as possible as this can help in breaking the monotony of being confined to the house.
Any simple outdoor activity will help to stretch the joints to reduce stiffness or immobility and lift their spirits, thus improving their overall health.
As a caregiver, you need to plan for simple activities for the elderly to do, keeping in mind their physical condition.
If they are disabled moving around can cause pain but there are some simpler things for them to do too. Here are some simple outdoor activities for the elderly:
• Take your elderly parent for a nice walk in a quiet park with few passersby and pick up the trash on a slow walk around the neighborhood. This can be a cleanliness drive meant to serve the community as a whole.
• You could take your parent to a nearby hospice or retirement home to meet people there who would enjoy some visitors.
• They can assist in stuffing envelopes or making telephone calls for the church or some charitable institution. This is ideal for elderly people who have difficulty moving around or are confined to a wheelchair.
• Your elderly parents can read to the little children or disabled kids at your local library. This is also ideal for wheelchair bound persons who can’t move around easily.
• You can also take a young child to visit the zoo or to watch a favorite game occasionally. Elderly people love the company of kids.
Making a difference to others no matter how small brings a great feeling of satisfaction and contentment to most people because they enjoy being involved as a contribution of their time.
This may be essential in helping your elderly parents to regain their lost self esteem and reduce feelings of depression or boredom.
Helping people and being involved in the community is a good therapy for older people and may help to positively improve the quality of their life.