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How to Help Your Elderly Family Thrive

Whether you’re caring for a parent, relative or close family friend, being a part of someone’s support system as they age is important and meaningful work. You clearly care about your family member and want them to thrive as they continue to age. Whether you are their main caregiver or an accessory to a larger system of people who love and care for them, you can do your part to ensure that they have a great daily and overall life experience.

How to Help Your Elderly Family Thrive

Everyone is different, and each senior citizen has their own unique needs, but there are a few practices that can help older individuals feel more comfortable and fulfilled in their daily lives. If you’re looking for a few ways to bring a bit of joy and ease into your family member’s life, here are some ideas you can turn to. 

Creating an Accessible Space

If your family member lives in a retirement facility or assisted living center, you probably won’t need to worry about this one. However, if they happen to live at home and plan to age in place, you can offer your assistance in ensuring that their home is comfortable and accessible for all of their needs. Each person will require their own specific accommodations, and it can be helpful to talk to them one on one about what they need, but there are also a few additions that tend to be helpful for most senior citizens.

Adding ramps, hand rails, proper lighting and accessible storage are all great ways to start making a home more comfortable for an elderly family member. That way, they can navigate their home with ease.

Engaging With Loved Ones

While a comfortable home is an important part of life, the people it’s shared with are even more important. Emotional health and social interaction are beneficial for everyone, and that includes older individuals. Sometimes, one of the best ways you can enhance your family member’s life is by being a consistent part of it. Spending quality time with them, doing activities together and ensuring that they have a healthy, rounded social life can help create a sense of purpose and uplift your loved one.

Keeping an Eye On Their Health

Emotional and mental health are obviously important, just like physical health. Often, those avenues of health become even more entwined with age. In order to help your family member thrive in their life, keeping an eye on their health is never a bad idea. Take note of activities that seem physically difficult for them, notice how often they get sick or ill and keep an eye on their brain function and memory for things like dementia. Sometimes, noticing the small things can make a big difference, especially with someone who is aging.

Small Tasks and Activities

While health, accessibility and other bigger picture items matter a lot, the day to day happenings of life can often feel just as important. For many people, aging can often feel like losing their autonomy. Requiring help for daily tasks, having people constantly around and not having the mobility they once did can feel a bit disheartening. While helping someone out with things out of their reach is a great way to show care, encouraging them to do small tasks, activities and find autonomy throughout the day can often make a huge difference. Whether it’s picking out clothes, making a meal or helping out with little things around the house, finding things for them to do can sometimes change up the day.

Hobbies and Vocations

One of the best ways to help your family member thrive as they age is supporting them and encouraging them to take up hobbies and activities that bring them joy. It can be easy for life to get away from people and feel a bit devoid of purpose when nothing is driving or anchoring them. Older individuals are constantly surrounded by people who have jobs, careers, hobbies and exciting adventures — and they deserve those things, too. While their hobbies might look different than they once did, finding a few purposeful activities that bring them joy can transform so many days.

Staying Active

Physical activity is good for anyone’s health, and that doesn’t change with age. Specifically, older individuals can benefit greatly from engaging in balance activities, muscle strengthening and aerobic exercises. Ensuring that your family member is getting the movement they need to stay healthy can increase their quality of life and comfort.

Going for walks together, attending gentle yoga classes or even doing some light stretching can be a great way to spend time together. That way, exercise can come along with quality time with a loved one.

Caring for Your Elderly Family Member

Whether you’re one of their primary caregivers or simply a loving family member, caring for your older family member can help you feel closer to them and give them another person to offer support. And when you pay a bit of extra attention and make an effort to understand their needs, you can help them truly thrive.

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