There is no doubt that taking care of senior citizens should be a high priority in just about any country in the same way that we should be willing to make looking after any vulnerable people a priority. However, far too many of us don’t take the time to look after the older people in our own lives, let alone the culture at large. Far too many people treat their older relatives as something of a burden or even an annoyance. However, if we’re not taking the right care of the older people in our lives then that puts them at genuine risk in a number of ways. Older people not only deserve our respect but they also deserve the same support and care that any potentially vulnerable person might need. Here are some things that you can do to make sure that your older relatives are getting the care that they need.
Know what they need
If you want to take the best possible care of the older people in your life then the first thing that you will have to understand is what kind of care they actually need. After all, different people require different levels of care and support, and without understanding that, you’re never going to be able to ensure that your older relatives are properly taken care of. Some people only require a small amount of support at home from time to time whereas others may be in need of more round-the-clock care which could facilitate the need for something like a dedicated support worker or even living in a care home. Of course, there are plenty of older people who really just need someone in their life to check in on them now and then.
Listen to them
Far too often people don’t bother to take the complaints or comments of older people all that seriously. Older people are treated as though they just want to complain about anything and that the things they say don’t really have that much weight. However, not only do older people deserve your attention as much as anyone else, abuse of and bias against older people can be a major concern. You read more about it here but the truth is that ageism is something that can even impact the quality of healthcare for a lot of people. Ignoring someone’s complaints because of their age can lead to serious issues so it’s important that you don’t contribute to that too.
Act on their concerns
If you have an older person in your life who has raised concerns about something or expressed a need for help and support, you might be able to directly address those problems but you’re far from powerless. You can raise their concerns with the kinds of people who might be able to make a difference. The truth is that they may well be more likely to listen to you than they would be to pay attention to the things that your relative is saying. It’s not fair and it shouldn’t be the case but that’s the world we live in.
Encourage their independence
It would be a mistake to assume that any old person who needs any form of attention and care can’t do anything at all by themselves. After all, just because someone gets older doesn’t mean that they suddenly lack the ability to function at all. It’s important to be there for the older people in your life without stifling or smothering them. Encouraging them to be independent can be incredibly beneficial to their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. It can be tempting to try and do everything for them but that can often be incredibly frustrating for a lot of older people.
A lot of people make the mistake of trying to take on all of the responsibility of care for their older relatives themselves. While this is a very understandable thing to do, and certainly admirable to a degree, it can often cause a lot of issues. For one thing, you may not be qualified to actually take care of the older people in your life which means that you might not be able to offer them the support they need. The other issue is that trying to take all of that on can put a lot of pressure on you which can end up causing a good deal of resentment on your part as well as issues elsewhere in your life. Being willing to care for older relatives is great, just don’t take on more than you can handle.