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As we get older and potentially develop conditions such as dementia, it is important for many reasons to remain in a familiar, comforting environment.
Studies suggest that elderly people who are stripped of their independence as a result of their age or condition face worse outcomes in terms of health and mortality.
Denying an older person the ability to choose simple things such as what clothes to wear in the morning, or what evening meal to have, can be detrimental to their state of mind and even their physical health.
But providing the support and elderly family member may need to continue living in their home independently can be difficult, especially if you don’t live nearby or are trying to balance work and a young family already.
Fortunately, there are some very good private senior care companies out there to lend a helping hand, like Home Instead Senior Care, which has 200 offices throughout the UK.
Here, Tony O’Flaherty, Director of Home Instead Senior Care for Wandsworth, Lambeth & Dulwich, share some tips on helping your loved ones stay in their homes for longer…
Prepare the home
The installation of equipment such as stair lifts, shower chairs and safety devices are all extremely helpful in maintaining independence, as well as peace of mind.
Look out for daily tasks an elderly person may struggle with, such as boiling the kettle, using a tin opener or lifting pots and pans, and search for more ergonomic equipment or solutions on the internet.
If you find the task overwhelming or don’t know where to start, Home Instead Senior Care can help to prepare your loved one’s home to be lived in for years to come.
Tailored care packages also make it possible for your relative to stay in their beloved home with all the necessary measures in place to ensure they are safely and sufficiently cared for.
Respect Your loved one’s Voice and Choice
Listening to and communicating with older people, especially when they are suffering with conditions such as dementia, can be challenging.
Be patient with your elderly mother or father and try to let them guide you in any choices that need to be made. Don’t say things like ‘you need a caregiver’, as this is likely to elicit a defensive response, or even upset a loved one.
If you think they do need at-home help, try explaining that they have reached a point in life where they deserve a personal assistant to make things easier and more comfortable. A successful way to explain this is to use an example from the working world, eg, in an office, an assistant would help with everyday tasks and diary management.
Building Up Trust
If you do decide – ideally together – that your loved one needs more help at home, it’s important to find a caregiver that they will like and trust. Your parent will be the one spending the most time with the caregiver, so it is important that their personalities, interests and hobbies are a strong match.
Home Instead Senior Care take the process of matching up your family member with a caregiver very seriously, going to great lengths to ensure the person caring for your loved one is someone they can trust, communicate with and enjoy spending time with.
Giving an elderly individual the chance to choose and bond with their CAREgiver over time, instead of being rushed straight into a care package with various different carers, gives them back their freedom and restores their dignity.
Allowing your parents to express themselves means they’ll be more likely to welcome their caregiver into their lives, so your family member’s voice and choice will always be respected. Besides, age should be celebrated and elderly people should never be ignored.
More about Home Instead Senior Care
Home Instead’s ethos – ‘Live well at home, your way’ – revolves around providing your loved one with excellent care in their own home, tailored specifically to their individual wants and needs.
There are myriad negative stories in the media about the neglect, institutionalisation and marginalisation of elderly people. A large part of this is problem centres around a lack of appropriate support for elderly people with care needs. Home Instead Senior Care strives to solve this problem with excellent care that ensures your loved one’s dignity is preserved at all times.
The organisation was founded on personal experience and a desire to help your family members be cared for at home, happily, healthily and independently. Each carefully-planned, individually tailored care package centres around preserving their independence and dignity and alleviating any uncertainties or worries about future care.
For more information, call HISC Wandsworth, Lambeth & Dulwich on 020 8871 0006 or see homeinstead.co.uk