In March, the UK declared that the elderly could be in quarantine for up to four months, depending on the spread of the virus. Fast forward to May, and there are still no signs of the lockdown being lifted for senior citizens.
If you are at home quarantined with your ageing (and possibly sick) parents or grandparents, here are a few things you need to consider in making this time more meaningful and less stressful for all of you:
Seek guidance from care specialists
Before the lockdown was enforced, you more likely had employed specialists in home care service to take care of your elderly loved one. Seek their advice now that you are the primary caregiver. They know the best approach to help you care for senior family members. This will be especially helpful if your family member is stricken with illness.
But you shouldn’t just seek advice about how to care for them physically. Get as many details as you can about their mental well-being as well. The more you know about their overall care, the better you are at providing what they need.
Fully understand their illness
Be mindful that additional care should be provided for senior family members who are particularly ill. You might think that you know everything there is to know about what is ailing them, but do additional research anyway. You never know what kind of information you may come across. There could have been medical breakthroughs or therapies that you can now use to care for them.
Create a “caregiving schedule” with other able family members
If you’re lucky enough to be quarantined with other family members who can help you care for your ageing parent or grandparent, create a “caregiving schedule” you can stick to. Take into consideration the work you and they do, as well as shift hours.
You should pay close attention to the time when they are most productive at work or when they have to take online classes. Avoid scheduling them for shifts when they are most needed at work or in class.
But if you are doing this alone, don’t fret. Make sure that you keep in mind the next two tips.
You shouldn’t just be about caring for their physical illness. Engage their mental toughness, too, by providing times for entertainment. You may go easy the route and turn the TV on and let them mindlessly be entertained. But it will be more beneficial if you engage in activities that you both can participate in.
How about reading a book together? Or if they’re more able-bodied, play a game of cards together. Find activities that would challenge their minds and keep them sharp.
Don’t forget your own needs
It would be counter-productive to forget about your own health when you are taking care of an ageing family member. Just as parents are warned to put on the oxygen mask before their children, so should you when dealing with senior parents or grandparents. Take a breather whenever you can. A well-deserved bath at the end of the day, for example, is a big boost to your well-being.
Indulge yourself with your favourite guilty pleasure, from watching soap operas to that first bite of a chocolate bar. Just don’t forget to take care of yourself. Listen to what your body and your subconscious are telling you.
Caring for sick or ageing family members is not an easy task. It will take maximum amounts of patience, understanding, and compassion. But it is not impossible. Think of all the years they have spent in caring and providing for you. That thought alone should sustain your goal in giving them the best years of their lives.