Tips on How to Help Your Elderly Loved One with Incontinence Problems
There are many different ways to help the older adult in your life stay safe and feel cared for. While it may seem overwhelming at first, extending care can help both of you feel more connected during this later stage of life. Here are some of the ways you can care for an older adult:
- Visit Often:
Your loved one needs social interaction with you. And by visiting, you get the reassurance that they are safe, healthy, and doing well. During your visit, it's always best to check around their home for any issues that may need to be addressed. For instance, you may want to check the overall cleanliness of the house or if anything is broken that may need to be fixed. Also, do a routine check of their food supply, laundry, mail, and plants.
- Check Medications and other necessities:
Be sure that your loved one has adequate supplies of their medications and other necessities, such as disposable underpads, and cloth wipes, that make their life easier on a daily basis. It is important that all their prescriptions are filled and refilled as needed.
- Hire Help:
If you are not able to take care of an older adult family member, hire help. This could be someone who helps your loved one with their daily activities such as showering, errands, or housekeeping. If it isn't someone you know personally, then you should always check references or go through a licensed agency.
- Make Home Modifications:
It is best to take a good look around the home and assess what may be a safety hazard when taking care of elderly adults. Some may be simple fixes while other modifications may be more involved. These may include:
- Checking the overall lighting in the house to make sure it is bright enough.
- Installing a raised toilet. Installing a ramp for wheelchairs or walkers.
- Installing handrails and grab bars at the toilet and shower.
- Make sure cables, cords, and wires are safely tucked away to prevent potential falls. Make sure there are non-skid mats or strips in the shower or bathtub or any other potentially slippery areas of the house.
- Removing small rugs or ones that have raised edges that could potentially cause stumbles or catch on walkers/canes.
- Talk about finances:
Have open discussions about their financial needs and expenses, especially if they live on a fixed income or if there is a budget to be adhered to.
- Take Care of Paperwork:
While you are taking care of an elderly loved one's personal needs in the present, you may also want to be sure that you are prepared for the future. Make sure everything is up-to-date and completed when it comes to their important paperwork. This may include discussing their will or deciding on power of attorney. These conversations can be challenging, but they are essential.
- Watch for Driving Issues:
There may come a time when your loved one may no longer be able to drive due to declines in their eyesight or reaction times. It is important to assess their driving abilities and when it does become an issue, offer other options that may help.
- Keep Them Active:
It is important to keep older adults active and involved. Exercise is important when taking care of elderly loved ones in order to keep them healthy, and can even reduce their risk of falls. It is important that they remain involved with their family and friends, or even venture out to make new connections.
- Supply Healthy Meals:
Even if your schedule doesn't allow you to cook meals regularly, you can prepare a few meals in advance. In addition, your loved one may qualify for assisted meal services, such as Meals on Wheels, depending on their situation, or prefer to sign up for a different deliverable meal plan.
- Use Tech Tools:
There are some ways of using technology to your advantage when taking care of elderly loved ones. You can install a camera or a motion sensor to keep watch over them when you are away. A camera system can help keep you informed about falls, how much they are moving, and provide other important information. There are also systems your older loved one can use in order to alert you if something is wrong. One option is a Life Alert system that provides a button your loved one can press in order to receive immediate help.
- Arrange a Schedule:
Try to arrange a schedule between you and other family members to help your elderly loved one when it comes to bathing, doctor appointments, errands, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.
- Utilize Available Resources:
There are many resources available for the elderly. Do your research and see what your loved one qualifies for and how it could benefit them. You may be surprised at what's available.