Do you remember those days when Gran would take care of everything from a row at home to a cut or scrape? These days, Gran doesn’t get out as much, and the years are starting to take their toll. Of course, like many fiercely independent senior women, Gran isn’t going anywhere. She has many happy memories at home, and doesn’t want to live in a care home. It might be down to you to help her retain that independence. Can you juggle your kids, your career and all of the care Gran might need now? Thousands of people do this every day, and it will become more common as the population continues to reach an older age.
Time For Talk
Your relationship with your Gran is unique, but chances are you don’t have a lot to discuss with her on a day to day basis. Still, if your Gran is living alone, it’s really important she doesn’t become isolated. Like most of us, we thrive on routine. Can you schedule in a weekly outing with Gran? What about having afternoon tea with her every Tuesday? Pick a date and a time that suits you both, and try to stick to it. Of course, weekly visits aren’t always practical if you don’t live nearby. There are other solutions.
Finding people in your Gran’s community that can help doesn’t have to be difficult. If you look at websites like inhomecarenorthphoenixaz.com, you’ll see there are many services that provide company and social interactions for older people. Have a look on FaceBook to see if there are any community groups on there that follow one or two of your Gran’s hobbies. Reach out and see if they’d be willing to meet her in person.
It’s really easy to forget to take your vitamins, supplements, or medication. We’ve all done it. No doubt Gran will forget from time to time. You can help her with this by setting reminders on her phone or in a notebook she regularly looks at. Sometimes pill pots with the days of the week can be helpful too. It’s best if you know and have a note of what she should be taking. Why not offer to pick up her prescriptions for her so you can keep track of the dates of refills?
Keeping health appointments can also be tricky, especially if there is travel involved. It’s also easy to forget to ask the questions you want answers to, and to understand what you’ve been told. Have a look at websites like http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/ for advice here. Volunteer to go with your Gran to any appointments you can make the time for. It helps to have a second pair of ears sometimes!
Of course, Gran has plenty more years in her, so you want to make sure she fills them up with plenty of fun and stimulating activities. Don’t let her lose touch with the latest technologies or trends. Help her to get involved in these things by making them as accessible as possible. Perhaps your Gran would benefit from learning new skills or taking a course? There are thousands of different courses available, and it’s never too late to become a student. Start with her local adult education centre. You can find plenty of interesting health courses at the sports centre or health centre too. Why not get going with an online course?
When it comes to local services, you’ll be amazed just how many health and fitness classes there are for our older population. Perhaps Gran would be interested in signing up to something like that? It’s a good way to meet like-minded people too. Best of all, it will help Gran stay in great shape and give her health a boost.
Hobbies provide stimulation as well as that all-important feel-good factor. Starting a new hobby or interest is a great way to get involved with a new group of people. It also gives Gran plenty of things to keep her busy between your visits. Why not start a hobby together? That way you’ll have plenty more to talk about and so much more in common. It’s a good way for you to bond a little more and provides you both with a much-needed recreational activity.
It may not be your responsibility or even something you want to deal with, but your Gran may have increasing needs for help with personal care. This can include the simple things like cooking and the household chores. Perhaps mobility issues make dressing a little hard. Of course, over time, washing and toileting may become too difficult or dangerous for an elderly person to manage on their own. This can be quite distressing for your Gran, especially if she is determined to stay independent.
Maintaining your Gran’s dignity is the all-important factor here. She will still want her privacy and may even be quite embarrassed about this sort of thing. No doubt you’ll be struggling with the thought of it. You don’t have to be the one to help her, but you should make sure she is as comfortable as possible with the person who does come to help her.
There are plenty of adaptations you can make to your Gran’s home to help her with some of these daily tasks. A rail next to the toilet can help her sit and stand more safely. Change the bath to a sit-in shower cubicle. This is much easier and safer than having to step over the side of a bath tub. In the kitchen, you could provide smaller pots that weigh less, and bring all of her utensils down to waist height. There are also many service providers of meals that save Gran from having to cook anything from scratch.
It’s not always easy to help an elderly relative stay in their home. They might choose to stay because that is their preferred lifestyle. Or they simply might not have the funds to support full-time care. You don’t have to do everything for your relative. Simply empower them and help provide them with the tools to enjoy life at home.