For most of us, the dream is to live a long and healthy life. If you have elderly relatives, it can be difficult to see their health decline. Even if they’re in good shape, they are likely to become increasingly dependent as they get older. Do you care for a grandparent or an elderly parent? If so, here are some suggestions to try and increase their independence and promote health and wellbeing.

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Getting out and about

As you get older, it’s often more difficult to socialize and keep in touch with friends and family. In this day and age, there are lots of things you can do to try and connect your elderly relatives with others and encourage them to get out and about. If they are still young at heart, and they’re eager to try and keep tabs on modern technology, show them how to text or use email. This will enable them to contact their friends and help to prevent them from feeling isolated. If they can’t manage with newfangled gadgets, try and help them to set up meetings and days out. If they can’t drive anymore, offer lifts or book a taxi, for example.

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Offering reassurance

Your home can go from being a safe haven to a labyrinth when you get older and you’re less mobile. Many older people worry about living at home on their own, and they avoid doing tasks, such as cooking. If your relative is scared of using the oven or the hob, try and encourage them to have a go while you’re there. Offer them support and reassurance, but encourage them to try and do it on their own. You can step in and help if required.

Getting home help

If day to day tasks, such as showering or preparing meals, are becoming tricky, it’s worth considering home help. Look for agencies with a good reputation in providing person-centered senior care. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. You can usually tailor the service to meet the needs of your relative. You may wish to have a couple of calls a day so that your loved one can have a nice bath and a homemade dinner. You could also arrange a weekly visit to the community center or a day out once a month.

You can also work with local health organizations to adjust the home to make it safer and less intimidating. It may be possible to fit handles by the toilet or lower the kitchen units, for example. If mobility is a problem, installing a stair lift or replacing steps with a ramp by the front door may be a good idea.

Many elderly people are keen to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. If you‘re caring for an older relative, there are things you can do to try and make life easier and enable them to connect with the wider community. Find out about local events and societies. Keep in touch with friends and other family members. If you have other commitments, such as a job or children to look after, consider other options. Homecare agencies offer a range of services, which can be customized to suit each client.