3 Things You Need To Know About Taking Care of a Senior at Home

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An old woman during 2009 World Alzheimer's Day - Photo by: Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la santé - Source: Flickr Creative Commons

When your older family member is ill, it can be quite challenging. There are many things you need to remember, and many things you have to be prepared for. Whether you’re caring for your older relative yourself or sharing the responsibility with someone, the situation can be difficult mentally, physically, and financially. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Health issues in seniors are common; but, thanks to the medical and technological progress, it’s not as challenging to deal with them as it was before. Many people decide to take care of their older relatives at home – and, as long as it’s safe, this situation can be beneficial for everyone involved. Of course, being a caregiver is one of the toughest and most stressful jobs you can do: bureaucracy, finding the necessary equipment and medicine, dealing with your relative’s feelings and emotions, and, sometimes even fighting for their lives when nobody’s nearby. 

Fortunately, you can get prepared for the great majority of possible situations. In this article, we’ve collected the main things that will make it easier for you to take care of your older relative at home. Of course, the situation is still going to be challenging. But it is possible to reduce the stress and make it less of an ordeal. 

Want to deal with the possible issues successfully? Read on! 

Getting Medical Equipment Doesn’t Have to Be Tough

Many seniors need medical equipment to lead a comfortable life. Walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen generators and many others can be a necessity for your older relatives – but very often, it’s not that easy to get one. You might want to check Heartland Medical Equipment or read our tips on how to get everything you may need easily.

Doctor’s Order

If you have time and want your health insurance to cover the costs, you need to get a doctor’s prescription. Your relative’s physician or specialist will examine them and order the necessary equipment appropriate to the patient’s condition. The doctor will also submit all the other required paperwork, so you don’t have to worry about documents.

The insurance may cover all the costs, or only half of them – in the latter case, monthly co-payments will be required.    

Lending Program

If you can’t afford the equipment you need, and the insurance company can’t pay for it, look for the local nonprofit organizations that can lend medical equipment for free. They usually provide items donated by people who no longer need them; all the equipment is thoroughly cleaned and repaired. 

Personal Purchase

If you don’t have much time to wait for the doctor’s order, the best solution would be to buy the necessary equipment personally. Don’t worry, it doesn’t always have to cost a fortune. You can find quality equipment at reasonable prices.

Seeking Help Doesn’t Mean You’re Failing

Paperwork and financial problems make only half of the problems you can encounter when caring for a senior at home. The other problem is knowledge and energy. If this is the first time you’re taking care of an older relative, you may not know what exactly to do, who to call in case of an emergency, where to get the money for the equipment, and any other important information.

Seek help. You can’t deal with everything alone, and the work can be pretty overwhelming. If you can’t afford professional assistance, look for volunteers in your area, or ask a friend or family member to help you with the errands. It doesn’t mean that you’re failing. You’re a human being – you can’t be perfect in everything you do. Thus said…

…You Can’t Give It All Your Time and Energy

You need to rest – both mentally and physically. You might be doing a fantastic job, but the truth is, it’s putting enormous pressure on you – and at some point, you’ll need to reload. To avoid burnout and manage stress, remember about getting regular breaks. 

Hire an in-home caregiver – it’ll be the best solution to get rest more often. If that’s not possible, enroll the senior in an adult day program. Yes, it can be pretty expensive, but trust us: in this case, the value is worth the cost. 

The Final Note

Taking care of your older adult at home is never easy. It’s never possible to completely eliminate stress and pressure, and you might have to deal with complex problems. However, learning more about the situation and potential issues can allow you to be prepared and manage stress successfully.

There are many tips for dealing with possible problems in your situation – for example, those concerning getting medical equipment. Look for the solution that works for your case, don’t give up, and remember to rest. Yes, it’s your older relative that needs to be taken care of; but don’t forget about yourself as well.

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