The Importance of Caring for Elderly Relatives and Friends
As we are all enjoying living longer and healthier lives, so we are aware of older relatives and friends who are starting to struggle with day-to-day tasks and perhaps missing out on outdoor activities. There is a plethora of support services available from informal domestic help to more formal permanent accommodation in nursing homes. Indeed, there is no one model which suits all when it comes to supporting older friends and relatives as we all have very different needs and wishes. As a concerned friend or loving relative the range of support and assistance available can be overwhelming with so many aspects of care to consider. Here we look at some of the main types of care available:
Independent or Assisted Living
Some people or couples can be quite happy living at home but find living in their current accommodation too large for their needs. They may also benefit from support with housekeeping, shopping and cooking and would also like some companionship from time to time. Apartments within a care home community can provide good access to a range of these services on a flexible basis to meet individual needs.
Residential care provides 24:7 flexible supervision for people who need more sustained support. This support may include personal care and support with mobility and medication. As with independent living, residential care offers more access to social interaction and bespoke activities.
A nursing home differs from a residential home in that it is staffed by Registered Nurses on a 24-hour basis. The nurses liaise with a range of multidisciplinary health
professionals to deliver person centred care based on care plans. Nursing needs may incorporate mobility assistance, skin integrity, regularly reviewing medication, dietary guidance and end of life care.
People living with dementia or cognitive impairment will need specialist support from a health care team trained to meet their specific needs. The focus on care in a
dementia home is person centred care, safety and promoting health and wellbeing.
Although respite care is considered to be a rest for the care giver, it can also provide a well-earned break for the older family member! Respite care is normally provided
in a residential or nursing home for a short period of weeks. It allows the care giver to take a holiday and/ or reassess the care being provided. For the older family member, respite care can also be a holiday; a chance to socialise with others of the same age and also to try new activities and pastimes – so much so that they often request to come back again!
A Care Community can be found within many modern residential and nursing homes. The community provides everything that an external community can provide with personal and social needs being met over a period of time as the older person’s health and care needs change. Family and friends are reassured that their loved one is safe and being cared for within that caring community.
Issues Faced by Older People
Recognising the challenges being met by our older family members can be difficult. Often when we are close to people we don’t see and often don’t want to see their
struggles. Very often action is taken too late to protect their wellbeing. The severity and duration of the pandemic has accentuated or prolonged some of the challenge’s that older people face. Many older people can find themselves isolated and lonely especially as more of their friends become less mobile. Reduced emotional and mental support will have a detrimental effect on overall wellbeing and enjoyment. Self-managed health can become less consistent and if tasks are difficult to do they may be left. Moreover, if a person is isolated their safety and support systems will be compromised.
Benefits of Care for Older People
In most cases the best care and attention for an older person can be given by their own family members. However, with families spread around the globe and work and
other commitments, families are less able to commit to ‘being there’ and providing much needed reliable care. In many cases families also just do not recognise the needs of their loved ones as they are too absorbed in managing their younger family members. As a result, society has adapted to ensure provisions are in place for older people – that their requirements are understood, provided for and prioritised to ensure enjoyment of life.
Looking after our older relatives well is essential in maintaining a good balance in society. Care home communities have provided people with the support to access assistance to care for their loved ones in a very positive way. Families have reliable options to achieve peace of mind. For the older relative there is a fully supportive and social community that will help them feel happy and secure. An integral part of wellbeing is mental and emotional support. Whilst families will do their utmost to provide this support the older person like any other in society are stimulated by their own friends and companions from within their age group. These interactions invigorate and energise in natural and important ways. Discussing the world around and things concerning them will release tension and promote a positive environment. Another great benefit of community life is that of responsibility and contribution to that life. Greater fulfillment and wellbeing is achieved through a sense of purpose.
In-depth research by ProMatura International and ACRCO concluded that “residents that live in retirement care communities have healthier, more active, more social,
more secure and happier lives”. * They specifically found that residents in these communities:
- Stay healthier for longer;
- Are more active;
- Are less lonely;
- Have a greater sense of a safety net;
- Feel more secure;
- Enjoy life more;
- Enjoy more privacy.
What you can do for your older relative
Care home communities can provide the best care for the elderly in a way that ensures wellbeing and attention to personal and physical needs in the absence of family. This means reliable health care and companionship when required. It is helpful to consider a care plan in advance to look at options and have the time to discuss the merits of different options with your loved one. We all appreciate being part of decisions and having the time to think things through. Care home managers will readily help in your planning and provide you with great advice. Importantly, many care homes hold waiting lists so it may be essential to register early. Choosing the right care home and community is important. Facilities, services and service ethos must be aligned to the needs and personality of your loved one. Elderly wellbeing and living happily with dignity can be achieved with good research and planning.
The Hollies Care Centre offers assisted living apartments, a nursing care home and suites and an all new dementia care home, Holly Oak. Our extended community offers a secure environment where residents can adapt their care plans, maintain friendships among staff and residents, keep up interests and activities and enjoy the familiarity of what they have come to love. For families, we aim to reduce anxieties by focusing on individual needs, being adaptive and informative. For further
information please call Chloe on 01453541400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.