Living with a senior family member, and taking care of them is a noble and generous decision that not all people can do. Most older adults who have passed their 60s live alone without any young spirits accompanying them. Consequently, their soul ages faster than it is supposed to be, their health condition declines rapidly, and so does their cognitive function.
If you decide to be a caregiver for a senior family member, you have helped him/her to spend what’s left of his/her lifespan meaningfully. Having company can mean a lot to them.
However, you also need to educate yourself first about the right way to care for seniors. Proper treatments are vital because they are vulnerable and fragile.
Have a Conversation with Them
To nurture a senior’s cognitive function, he/she has to use it daily. Otherwise, they will be vulnerable to speech disorders and memory decline. Actions like bathing them, cooking them foods, and accompanying them to take a short walk outdoors are not enough. You have to engage with them in a meaningful conversation.
For example, you can make a project of memorabilia containing your elder’s personal story. You can gain two advantages: you can learn history from an authentic account, and you can train the subject to keep his/her cognition functioning and healthy at the same time.
Reading is also known to be effective to counter cognitive decline. Therefore, you should encourage this behavior by bringing your elder a new book every month. You can read the same book, and later share your thoughts on it.
Do Not Leave Them Alone
Leaving seniors on by themselves is dangerous and not recommended. First, in case of a disaster happens, your elder will not have the strength to escape. Second, your elder can unintentionally start a fire, slip in the bathroom, injure himself/herself with sharp objects, etc. If you want to leave him/her, you should find a capable replacement for you.
You can ask for another family member for the task. If not available, you are better to count on a professional Home Care Assistance. Browse the local service, and check its reputation first. Senior mistreatments are not uncommon, and you must be vigilant even though you hire a seemingly professional caregiver.
Check the service’s hotline and see if they are responsive enough to your call. You do not want to trust your loved one to a stranger who is not contactable. Once you get home, you should ask and listen to your elder about how the assistant treats him//her. If you feel necessary, you can also install surveillance cameras at home so that you can get substantial evidence in case of abuse.
Take Them for a Regular Medical Checkup
When your elder seems healthy normal, it does always mean that he/she is healthy. Aging individuals have a poor sensitivity toward pain. They may not know if there is anything wrong with their health.
To prevent the worst from happening, you should take them to a medical checkup regularly. If any signs of dementia appear, you should take your elder to a psychiatrist, and you have to be prepared for any outcomes of the checkup. In some situations, aging people with dementia are best to be institutionalized and left with the experts.