4 Ways to Support an Elderly Family Member Through Health Issues

It’s the wish of many sick, aging parents not to seek nursing care but to have one of their close family members or relatives take care of them. While an elderly care home business can care for your aging loved one health challenges, sometimes it’s not always a great option. According to statistics from Payroll-Based Journal, about 75% of nursing homes haven’t attained the staffing requirements as advised by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid.

If you opt to care for your elderly family member at home, supporting their needs isn’t as easy as you may think. However, there are different approaches you can take to make the experience less stressful. Here are a few you should know about.

1. Be Well Informed About Their Illness

Emulating the approaches of professional senior care business while caring for your aging family member at home guarantees a smooth experience. First, take time to learn more about your loved one’s health condition and what their treatment entails. You can do this by speaking to their doctor and researching their condition online. It’s also important to know their medication and when they should take it.

Additionally, you should accompany them to their appointments but remember to take notes. Most importantly, ask about the signs to watch out for if the medication is working or the medical condition is progressively worsening, and they need urgent care. For instance, if your loved one has kidney disease and the symptoms persist despite taking oral medication, they could have 10-15% kidney function and require a kidney transplant or dialysis.

2. Consider Performing Tasks Alongside Them

Suppose your elderly family member is dealing with reduced cognitive ability due to Alzheimer’s disease and can hardly carry out tasks by themselves. In that case, you might assume you’re among the few people caring for loved ones with such a condition. However, this is far from the truth. In fact, according to Family Elder Law, it’s estimated that 5.8 million aging adults are living with Alzheimer’s disease in America.

When looking after an elderly family member with a cognitively impaired illness, you should let them know they have control over their lives. So, instead of doing everything for them, try performing some tasks alongside them. This approach can seem slow and time-consuming, but it’s effective in letting your aging family member understand that you respect their independence. In addition, such activity helps to keep their functional abilities sharper, reducing the chances of a decline in mental functioning.

3. Care With Empathy

Like caregiving in the nursing home business, home care for a sickly aging family member will test your tolerance to your loved one. In most cases, their neediness, frustration, and moodiness can come off as unpleasant. However, you should understand that old age comes with different losses, such as loss of independence, energy, and even mobility. Some of these losses can happen almost at the same time, turning out to be an overwhelming experience for them, so you should empathize with them.

One way to do this is by paying attention to their facial expression. In case of discomfort, they’ll make facial movements that will give you a clue about their feelings. When it happens, be mindful of your expression too. Never put on a face that shows anger or frustration but reciprocate with a concerned face. Additionally, always smile when you’re sharing exciting news.

4. Improve the Housing Situation

Special care is required when looking after elderly parents, so you should put measures to make your home safer. If your elderly family member has mobility challenges, consider installing custom-made mobility baths or stair lifts. As it’s the case with any senior care business, keep the room clutter free by removing power strips that act as a tripping hazard.

The elderly care business remains a go-to option for aging individuals going through health issues. However, with the support of loved ones, they can get through their health issues at home. It might be challenging for most people to take care of their loved ones at home for the first time. But with the information shared in this guide, the process should be as seamless as possible.


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