The management team, caregivers, companions and registered nurses at CareChamp know this well, and have done all they can to make life easier for families caring for aging, frail parents.
It’s been said that we start out in nappies and end up the same way, or that we start out in prams and end up in wheelchairs, and it’s true, no matter how hard it is to accept.
The problems with simple daily activities for elderly frail people:
· Getting dressed and washed, especially if there is a physical disability such as leg amputation or lower body paralysis.
· Eating – even cutting food, pouring or drinking tea or cool drink, keeping the food from dropping on clothes and even managing cutlery can become incredibly challenging.
· The ability to communicate their needs, what they’d really like and how they are really feeling about the situation is very difficult for someone you love, who is aware of the fact that they are losing control over even the most basic needs.
How to make it a little easier for a frail, aging parent at home:
· Ask your parent what they want instead of telling them what they need, whether it involves what they’d like to eat, when they’d like to wash or when they’d like to nap. No one knows better than they do. It’s only when Dementia really starts setting in that these choices may need to be made by you as the main caregiver, but until then, allow them the dignity to make these simple choices.
· Listen! When your aging parent tells you why they don’t want to do something, allow them the respect of listening to their reasons. You can’t just assume that you know what’s best for them, and might even find that they’re right!
· If your parent is still managing to do a few things for themselves, make life easier for them by putting things they use within easy reach for them! It’s all about working the issues out together while there is still time to do so. The dignity of being able to do these things for themselves is going to mean a lot to them as life becomes more difficult.
· Safety, safety, safety! Safety issues are non-negotiable! No one enjoys being vulnerable, but the fact is that with a weakened body, your elderly parent is going to have to face the truth that even the smallest fall or knock on the head can have serious repercussions!
· Don’t force your parent to eat more than what they are used to, and, if they like their ‘quiet time’ allow them that. If they are living in your home, their life has changed completely and small concessions like this on the part of the family are really not a big deal.
· Don’t talk about your parent as if they aren’t there. Involve them in discussions that affect their treatment and health issues. It is a simple way of letting them know that their dignity is still important to you.
Taking all of these points into consideration when caring for an elderly frail loved one, remember that you are going to need time to yourself, and time to see to your own responsibilities.
When you need this time, contact CareChamp for the very best caregivers in Cape Town and South Africa! They can give you a couple of hours, a weekend or full-time help to make life a lot easier for you and your very brave aging loved one!