You only want the best for your senior family members. That’s why you decided to take care of them at home instead of putting them in an assisted living facility. If you are new to caregiving, here are three things you can do to take care of your senior family members.
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1. Inform Yourself about the Person’s Health and Make Medical Needs a Priority
The first task is to get detailed information about the senior family member’s health. Get in touch with their doctor and any medical facility they might have visited. It’s best to have comprehensive health information. Don’t hesitate to contact the person’s doctors and discuss any questions you might have about their health.
Consider the available urgent care San Diego facilities and mobile medical services available in your area. Technology has made telemedicine widely available, ensuring you can consult and get medical care at a distance. If necessary, specialized mobile medical services can do house calls and even X-rays and other imaging in your home.
Don’t forget to follow the schedule of medical appointments senior family members might have. Apart from doctor’s exams, consider what could boost their health. For example, you can consider vitamin IV therapy or food supplements. If your family member has a problem with extra pounds, ask a professional to design a medical weight loss plan and work with them to meet their goals.
Many elderly people take at least some medications. Discuss if they can keep on their regular schedule. Even if you get an affirmative answer, double-check they didn’t accidentally forget any medicine. You’ll also need to secure refills on time.
2. Make Your Home Senior-Friendly
If a newborn is on the way, baby-proofing your home becomes a priority. Just as you adapt the house for a baby, you can adjust it for senior family members. There is a high risk of elderly people tripping and falling or bumping into something and hurting themselves. That’s why preventing falls is your primary consideration when adapting the house.
Here are some adjustments to make:
Remove any rugs, cords, or clutter from floors. If you have kids, their toys shouldn’t be lying around. Analyze the floors and look for potential tripping hazards to eliminate.
Install railings on stairs. You should also consider adding grab bars to your bathroom. These additions simplify walking around the house for senior family members, especially in tricky areas like stairs.
Consider the room’s lighting. For starters, make sure lights in all areas are strong enough for that area to be clearly visible. You also need to assess the switches’ positions. A switch should be easily reachable.
Keep everything within easy reach. Any items your senior family members use shouldn’t be on the highest or lowest cabinet shelves. That ensures they won’t have to bend down or climb on step stools to reach what they need.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Finances
Unfortunately, taking care of senior family members can get expensive. That’s why you can’t neglect the financial side of care. Start by analyzing the person’s current situation and options. You might be able to apply for public benefits. Medicaid, Medicare, and similar programs offer financial help to those taking care of elderly family members.
Next in line is the person’s retirement and insurance plan. Do they have any pension benefits, long-term care insurance, or other retirement funds? You also might be eligible for tax breaks. If you are buying a wheelchair or hospital bed, there might be a tax deduction. Even home remodeling with the goal of making it more accessible could qualify for a tax break.
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Take care of your senior family members but don’t forget about yourself
Taking care of senior family members is challenging, but you shouldn’t ignore your personal needs. Your top priority is to establish a routine that strikes a balance between work and private life. The Family and Medical Leave Act could allow you to take a leave of absence for up to 12 weeks as a caregiver.
Don’t hesitate to take an occasional timeout. Get some personal time and do whatever makes you happy to recharge your batteries. And don’t hesitate to look for ways to make the time spent with your senior family members more fun. They’ll appreciate spending time with you, whether it’s playing games, watching TV, or going somewhere together. Find some suitable activities for the person’s medical and physical condition and keep them engaged and active.