Tuesday 23 January 2018

Five Challenges of Looking After Older Relatives

If your parents live nearby and you are happy to help them out regularly, taking them shopping, picking up their prescriptions, and getting them to doctors’ appointments, you might find it hard to juggle your young family, your full time work, and your parents’ or elderly relatives’ care needs. There seems to be no time left to socialise and spend quality time with your loved one. Find out more about the main challenges of looking after older relatives below.

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1. You Need to Stay Flexible
When you have elderly parents or relatives to look after, you cannot plan ahead at any point. They might surprise you by a fall or an injury, or call you in the weekend about a doctor's’ appointment. While repaying them for all their devotion for you when you were small might make you happy, being on 24-hour alert might be exhausting long term. If you don’t have other relatives to help you out, you might burn out after a few months. 

2. You Might Need to Manage Their Finances
Apart from your own money, you will be responsible for looking after theirs as well. You will have to create two separate budgets, and account for all the shopping you do for them. At the same time, it is important that you protect them from fraud, and make sure that nobody has access to them without your presence, or they might sign up for services or order products they don’t really need.

3. They Might Refuse to Accept Help from Others

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No matter how vulnerable your older relative is, they might be too stubborn to accept help from local care companies or community centers offering day care. You can be convinced that they would be safer and better looked after at Porthaven care homes, but making them get help is another story. No matter how busy you are, you simply cannot refuse to go on until they can no longer stay at their house on their own. 

4. You Cannot Go On Holidays
One of the disadvantages of having to look after a relative is that you cannot leave them, and this will limit your abilities to book holidays and relax with your family. You might find day care centres, but feel guilty for leaving them, therefore, you will stay, and miss out on the opportunity of having a rest and getting a well deserved break.

5. You Will Need to Talk to All Doctors and Become an Expert
When your relative needs a long term treatment plan or an operation, they will expect you to make a decision on their behalf. This will further increase your responsibility and the pressure on you. You will start spending time researching the illness, talking to consultants, and finally become an expert.

Looking after your elderly relatives might be a rewarding task, but it is also exhausting and challenging at times. If you can, look for respite services or try to convince them to get professional care, so you can get on with your own family life, and get a rest recharging your batteries.

This is a collaborative post.