As people get older, they’re likely to suffer from a number of health complaints. Unfortunately, some of these issues will be lifelong, and need to be managed rather than cured. It can be difficult to know how to support your relatives, and you may want to put things in place that make their life easier. So, here are some tips for those with loved ones who have an older relative who needs help with their health.
Find suitable equipment to help them at home
There is a wealth of useful equipment that can help people around the home. If your relative has a particular problem, there’s likely to be a solution to it that you’ve never thought of before! For example, if you have a relative who struggles to get to the bathroom in time, then a discreet commode chair can help them out. It can be placed anywhere around the home, without being too obvious. If they have arthritis or another chronic pain condition, then they might want to consider specialist products such as tin openers and cupboard handles that can be used by people with painful joints. Think about what challenges they’ll face and put the right things in place for them.
Take them for regular checks
Unfortunately, some older people can be a little stubborn with their health and may not attend their appointments, so conditions can worsen. But it’s important that people with a long-term health condition regularly see a specialist for reviews. For example, one of the best ways to protect yourself from hearing loss is to regularly see an audiologist, as they can make suggestions for lifestyle changes and adaptations that can keep you hearing well.
Some other appointments that older people should regularly keep up include:
- Eye tests – vision can deteriorate quickly in older people, and besides, opticians can also potentially diagnose other illnesses during an eye test
- Dentist – even if your relative has dentures, they need regular checks to ensure gum health and a proper fit
- General check-ups – older people need to get their blood pressure checked and other general tests. Most GPs will send a reminder for these tests
- Cancer screening – older people will often be sent reminders for cancer screening. For example, older women will have regular mammograms to check for breast cancer
Admittedly, going to all these tests may seem a little tedious for your loved one, but remind them that it’s a good way to prevent some nasty ailments. If things are caught earlier, they have much better outcomes.
Many older people need help attending appointments. It may be that they forget the days or times, or simply need transport to get there. Offering some practical support can go a long way.
See if they are entitled to financial support
Some older people don’t realise that they may be able to get financial help if they have certain conditions. This can be a great help, as it allows them to buy equipment and things that they need to manage their condition. An example of this is the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS), which is available to those with permanent and severe incontinence. This can then be spent as your loved one sees fit and could be used for things like reusable continence pads, which save money in the long-term. Some local governments also offer help with things like house adaptations, which mean that older people on a low income may be able to get the cash they need.
If you have an older loved one who has a medical condition or is just suffering from the natural effects of ageing, you may be wondering the best way to support them. After all, you don’t want to patronise your loved one, and you’ll no doubt want them to feel like they are still independent. There are lots of things you can do to make their life easier and help them manage their condition, ensuring that they get the best possible care.