Everything You Need to Know About Caring for an Elderly Relative

caring for an elderly relative

By Patrick Vernon –

Getting old is a fact of life. From the moment we are born we age. One of the most important facts to remember is that people don’t lose their individuality, as they grow older. Your relative may have Alzheimer’s or they may be lucky enough to still be living in their 90s, but everyone has the right to dignity and respect as they grow older.

Basic rules of caring

Whether you are caring for an older or a younger person, hygiene is important. The last thing that you may want to happen is that someone becomes ill because you haven’t followed a few basic rules of caring. When washing or cooking for anyone it’s a good idea to become accustomed to wearing disposable gloves, these gloves are disposable and will help to cut down on the spread of infection for someone who may have a weakened immune system.

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Have fun

Just because someone has become infirm as a result of age doesn’t mean that they have lost their sense of fun. The Daily Mail suggests that organizing a rotation of visits between family and friends a couple of times a week is always going to be a good idea. Just because someone has lost the use of their mobility doesn’t mean that they have lost their interest in life.

A recent study showed that those relatives who were housebound could suffer from depression, and social visits at least three times a week really brightened up their lives. The Campaign to End Loneliness found that ‘800,00 people are chronically lonely.’ Even though you may be caring for your relative on a daily basis, they still need to interact with friends where possible.

Make some changes

Disability of any description always necessitates some changes. If your relative has Alzheimer’s then take a look at the Age UK website for local support groups. In the meantime spend some time with your relative assembling a memory box of photos and if possible, try and compile a music track of your relative’s favorite tunes.

Other experts suggest that smell is a powerful aid to the kind treatment of Alzheimer’s patients. If your relative has a garden you could plant lots of their favorite sweet smelling plants in the garden. Alzheimer’s is a gradual condition, so you can discuss these innovations while your relative is still able.

Look after yourself

You will be putting yourself under huge pressure by caring for an elderly relative. It is imperative that you take some time out to go for a massage, meet friends at a wine bar, or indulge in any other activities that you enjoy. Caring is hard work. You won’t be letting your relative down if you go out for a night, they’ll probably be pleased and want to hear a full account of the evening’s activities on your return.

Pain often provokes the old to say things that they may regret or makes them appear unreasonable. Mentally you can accept this, but living with someone else’s pain can be hard work. Try not to lose sight of why you decided to care for an elderly relative, and always remember that though their bodies may be old, in their minds most people are always 18.


Patrick Vernon is a freelance writer, with experience writing for a range of magazines and websites, researching various topics in order to offer useful info and content to the public.









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Everything You Need to Know About Caring for an Elderly Relative
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