Living with a relative who is elderly and in need of some form of support can be difficult. There is no doubt about it; it will mean a radical change in your life. You won’t be able to do all the things you did before, and that can come as a shock to the system. For most people, it’s a parent who they end up looking after and living with when they grow older. They raised you when you were small, so it’s only fair to repay the favour now that they’re the one in need of support.
That’s not to say it’s easy to look after someone, though. Caring and supporting is different for everyone. It all depends on the situation you’re in. It might simply mean offering a bit of help with cooking. Or it could mean helping them get around. If they are having mobility problems, they will need more of your time and attention. It will be up to you to assess the situation properly. Read on to learn more about what living with an elderly relative entails and some of the things that you will need to know.
Share the Responsibilities Among the Family
If you have other people living with you, you should get everyone involved in the work that needs to be done. Caring for a family is hard enough. It gets even harder when you also have an elderly relative living with you too. So, make sure that everyone is doing their bit and pulling their weight. This is the kind of challenge that you should try to approach as a family. That will help you to carry on living in a relatively stress-free kind of way while your relative lives with you. It can all get a bit too much if you don’t have the right kind of support to back you up in this kind of situation.
Finding Suitable Living Arrangements for Them
Where will your relative live when they move in? Is there are a spare room they can take? Will they have problems with the stairs? These are the kinds of questions that you are going to have to think about. There is no one size fits all answer to this. In some cases, it means that children have to share a room in order to make space for your relative. It’s not ideal, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do when the situation calls for it. Find living arrangements that are going to work well for everyone. Tackle the problem as a team and make sure that everyone compromises a little if compromises have to be made.
Meeting Their Particular Needs
Meeting their needs is another challenge that you will have to undertake. It’s not easy to help an elderly person if you have no experience of doing so. That’s why it’s best that everyone is open and honest with one another about the situation. If they’re having particular problems, you need to know about them. You can’t help them and improve the situation if you don’t know what the problems are. So, encourage them to be open about these things. Then you can work together to provide the best solutions and the very best care for them. It’s much better than staying silent.
It’s Important to Have Your Own Time Away
When you are looking after someone else, it’s easy to feel like there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders. After awhile, this can build up and build up until it all gets too much for you. To make sure that this doesn’t happen to you, you will need to have some time away from the family and the care situation. That’s the only way to stay sane and relax. So, make it clear to everyone in the household that you are going to, for example, having one day a week when you go out and don’t do any tasks in the house. This is only fair, and your family should understand that you need that time.
Helping Them Get Around if Mobility Declines
Mobility is often a big deal for many elderly people. Once they start to have difficulty getting around, they can feel dependent on everyone else. This is a pretty hard situation for you to deal with. You need to make sure that you know the extent of their mobility issues. You could buy them a walking stick or a wheelchair if that makes things better. Or you could just be there to offer them some support so that they don’t fall and sustain injuries. If they need to get to hospital appointments and things like that, you could work with Medical Transportation Management. They offer transportation to people with mobility problems.
Finding the Right Balance in the Household
Finding the right balance in the home can be tricky when there are more people living there than normal. You need to make sure that everyone feels like they have the levels of privacy that they need. At the same time, you need to have some shared time where people can get together and talk. This is why it’s a good idea to take it turns to cook meals. Then, when the food is ready, everyone can sit around together and eat as a family. It’s a nice way to end the day. And it gives your elderly relative a time to socialize and be with others, which is something they might need.
Letting Them be as Independent as They Want to Be
There is always a risk of robbing your relative of their independence when they move in. This is something that many people do accidentally when they are looking after a relative. You need to make sure that you are not stifling them or taking care of things that they would prefer to do by themselves. People are often very protective of their independence as they get older. They don’t want to feel like a burden, and they don’t want to feel too dependent on other people.