Are you taking care of an elderly loved one at home?
If caring for older adults has become extra challenging for you during the pandemic, you are not alone. Social isolation presents physical, emotional, and mental challenges for both elderly people and their families.
Great news! You can still help an elderly loved one feel safe, happy, and comfortable during these trying times with these four practical tips:
1. Help them stay in touch with friends and family
Unlike younger people, older adults have limited access to phones and social media. Being cooped up in their homes, without any means of communication with others, is a bit cause of anxiety and loneliness. In fact, Scientific Reports says that the pandemic had severe impact on older adults’ mental health.
That’s why it’s important to help them stay connected with family and friends. Schedule a video call with their peers or even organize a virtual dinner with relatives. It’s a great way to make them feel connected.
Most importantly, always check up on them. Talk about their day. Share your joys. Discuss your concerns and ask their advice. Bring up conversations that instill happiness and hope.
2. Encourage and support their interests
What are their hobbies?
Find ways to support their interests and help them discover new ones. Do they love reading, gardening, or playing board games? If the budget allows, bless your elderly loved one with materials and supplies that support their interests.
If they want to and if they’re physically capable, let them to help in the house. Doing household chores help them feel that they still have an essential role in the family. Encourage them to exercise, too! Make sure they get some sun in the morning. Encourage them to care for their well-being and give them reasons and opportunities to find things to look forward to.
3. Know their needs and what help they need
Talk with your elderly loved one and assess what kind of help they need.
Start with the basics like meals, medicines, schedule of medical checkups, and movement around the house. While you’re at it, you can also help them create a daily schedule that works best for the both of you.
While it’s important to guide your loved one through their needs, give them enough space so they would still feel independent. Respect their preferences. It’s a balance of helping them and still giving them freedom to do and decide things for themselves.
4. Take care of yourself
A caregiver often has multiple roles. They are juggling a full-time job, looking after young children, and providing care for an elderly parent or member of the family.
If you want to take care of your elderly loved one, start by taking care of yourself first.
Engage in self-care. Make sure that you are eating well and sleeping well. Exercising, too! Find time for rest and relaxation so you can manage your physical and mental health. You need to ensure that you’re in good shape to help others.
Lastly, ask for help from other family members in taking care of your elderly loved one. There is no shame in needing and asking for help. More importantly, seek help from God. Ask Him to give you strength, patience, and wisdom while you care for your elderly loved one.
May God continue to bless, strengthen, and give you a heart full of joy as you serve!
“The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11 NKJV)