How to Care For an Elderly Relative During Lockdown
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No one is enjoying being stuck at home. We all wish the pandemic would end, the lockdowns could be lifted, and we could continue with our lives as they were before. But while people across the country complain about having to wear a facemask or not being able to go to a restaurant, it’s easy to forget those who are really having a tough time at the moment.
Many elderly people are stuck at home suffering in silence. Those of advanced years are much more vulnerable to the virus and are therefore shielding at home to protect themselves.
They are shut off from friends and family, and many are feeling isolated and lonely. They are unable to live life to the fullest, and this could be having severe consequences on their mental health.
If you have elderly parents or grandparents, there is a lot you can do to look after them and improve their quality of life. While they may not be able to leave the house or invite you round for Sunday lunch, you can still help them to keep going as happily and comfortably as possible.
To help you out, here are a few tips for caring for an elderly relative.
Get in touch
Sometimes all it takes to make you feel better is talking to a loved one. Even if you can’t visit your elderly relative, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up the phone for a quick chat. They will welcome the opportunity for conversation and regular contact will dramatically improve their mental health.
It will give you a chance to ask them how they are doing and make sure they have everything they need. And it might even help you to talk to someone as well.
The global pandemic is weighing on everyone’s minds right now but try to steer the conversation away from negative subjects and inject some positivity into your interactions. Talk to them about films and TV shows you’ve both watched recently, or update them with the latest family news.
Look after their health
It’s incredibly difficult to stay healthy when you’re stuck indoors all the time. Make sure that your loved one is doing everything they can to stay healthy. If they are able to go for walks, encourage them to do so.
If they are concerned about the risk, you could suggest they go out early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid other people. If this is not an option, there are plenty of low-impact exercises or workout videos that people of all ages can do at home. Even activities like gardening and housework can be effective at getting the heart pumping.
Many seniors may have lost the ability to fully control their bladder and bowel and may need other necessities such as incontinence protection pads. Make sure to inquire about any chronic condition in a respectful manner to help them get everything they need.
Eating well is also important, and you should make sure they are following a nutritious diet, not just eating microwave meals and takeaways. If they are unwilling or unable to cook for themselves, you could easily help them out in this area.
Save extra portions of the meals you make at home and drop them off at their front door. Alternatively, some websites allow you to order healthy meal kits for seniors and have them delivered to their homes.
Do errands for them
When you’re shielding, it becomes a lot more difficult to carry out basic errands like grocery shopping or cleaning the car. Offer help where you can by picking up supplies for them or coming over to do some gardening in a socially distant way. They will be enormously grateful to you for taking the work off their hands and preventing them from putting themselves at risk.
Help them with technology
Tools like Zoom and Facetime have been lifelines for many people in this time, helping them stay in touch with distant loved ones. But many older people struggle to get to grips with new technology. Make sure your relatives have everything they need to stay in contact and talk them through the process of setting it up and making calls.
Involve them in family activities
Your elderly relatives are probably missing the ability to take part in communal daily activities. Even simple pleasures like playing with the grandkids or coming over for dinner are forbidden, and they may be feeling sad and isolated as a result.
Try to schedule family activities that they can get involved with. Invite them to group chats on Zoom and create some entertainment in the form of games and quizzes. It may not be the same as a physical gathering, but it may help them take their mind off their current circumstances.
*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional if applicable.