9 Tips for caring for our grandparents at home
As people grow older, their mental and physical health gradually deteriorates. This means that, over time, they acquire new needs that must be met. It is very beneficial to be able to adapt the older person’s life to these needs in their own home. Continuing to function in their own environment helps to maintain good motivation, a sense of independence and comfort. This increases their self-esteem and their commitment to activities and tasks.
Here are 9 tips that we consider important when caring for our grandparents or parents at home. If you have any questions or need help, please do not hesitate to contact us here.
1. Identifying the needs of the elder
As we have said before, as the years go by, people develop new needs. In order to care for an elderly person, we must first know how we can help them. To do this, we must identify what those needs are that need to be met, it is important to contact specialists or doctors, who have the experience and knowledge to help us. Making a list, listing what these are, is useful in order to see what resources we can use to help our elders. Knowing what needs the elderly person we are caring for has, we can develop a plan of action and see where each family member can do their bit.
2. Establish a routine
Establishing specific schedules in their daily lives can be very beneficial. Whether it is establishing a time for breakfast, washing up, leisure or exercise, etc. With a routine we create a sense of stability. It is about finding a schedule in which the person we are caring for feels comfortable and establishes a comfort zone. This will allow the elderly person to move in familiar territory, motivating them to carry out the tasks that arise during the day and making them work harder.
3. Adapting the home to the elderly person
Over the years, it becomes more difficult to move around and physically manage in an environment. It is important to adapt the home to the elderly person, so that they can carry out their tasks in the house comfortably and, above all, safely. Cognitive and physical deterioration makes elderly people unstable, and they could fall and break something. For this reason, add elements such as handholds, so that they can walk with you; electric chairs, which go up the stairs; incorporate a small seat in the shower and anti-slip to prevent falls in the shower; remove the rugs, as they can trip over them, etc.
4. Keep records of medicines
Older people may take a lot of different medicines to treat the symptoms of old age or any other medical conditions they may have. With so many pills and medicines, it is easy to miss a dose. Some older people even forget that they have taken a dose and then take the same medicine again, doubling their dose without realising it. To avoid situations like this, it helps to keep a record of the pills taken. There are a number of ways to ensure that medication intake is adhered to and respected. For example, by creating a calendar where the person writes down which pills they have taken and when; or by buying a product in the form of a box with dividers, which is specifically for planning each day’s pills, as you can see in the photo opposite.
5. Balanced diet
Older people tend not to be very hungry or to eat only one type of food, such as comfort food. Some older people sometimes go as far as skipping meals, sometimes because of demotivation, which makes them lose weight very quickly and causes health problems in some cases. It is important to make sure that our loved ones eat, and that they maintain a diet that is beneficial to their health. To do this we must create a balanced, varied and nutrient-rich diet. Making a meal plan, specifying the type of food to eat each day, can help to maintain a healthy diet. In this way we give a sense of routine to eating habits which, as we have mentioned in point two, can be very beneficial, providing security, motivation and stability to the elderly person.
6. Taking care of hygiene
Hygiene is an important part of elderly care, as it helps to prevent diseases, such as fungal infections in the skin folds. On the other hand, it helps to promote healthy hygienic habits, and also to increase self-esteem. Many older people sometimes go through something called “self-neglect”, which is when a person stops caring about what happens to them, in other words, they stop caring about their own well-being. We must avoid that and establish good living habits.
7. Maintain physical and cognitive activity
Over the years, the muscles of older people become numb, and the brain begins to weaken. To avoid immobility and memory disorders, we should try to keep the elderly person active. Games that challenge memory and thinking, such as card games or board games, will encourage cognitive activity. With regard to physical exercise, with exercises such as walks, tai chi, dancing or specific exercises.
8. Staying connected socially and with their family
When caring for an older person, one of the most important things is to keep their spirits up. To do this, keeping this person socially connected can motivate them to adopt new lifestyles, to try new things and to have new goals. It will also help the person to have a better quality of life and, if for any reason a face-to-face visit is not possible, we always have the technology to keep them connected to their environment.
9. Take time for yourself
In order to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. Caring for older people, although very rewarding, can be very tiring. Sometimes caring for an elderly person can require a lot of energy and can be very stressful. In order to provide quality care, we must ensure that we have breaks and time for ourselves. Recharging our energy and filling ourselves with patience and affection is important.