Tips for Taking Care of a Senior Loved One


For many people, there comes a time when they need to take care of elderly loved ones. When that time happens for you, the older adult must be treated with patience, love, and respect. 

Adjusting to this caregiving situation can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that it’s just as difficult for your loved one. There are lots of ways you can provide the best possible care, such as visiting often, installing medical alert devices, hiring help, making modifications, and much more. 

Visit Them Often

It’s very easy for elderly people to feel lonely and isolated. Therefore, social interactions are vital. While you’re visiting, you can also check that they’re safe, healthy, and doing well. Try to take a look around their home while you’re there for any issues that need addressing. Look for things that might be broken, whether the house is clean overall, and whether your loved one has sufficient food supplies. 

Check Their Medications

Elderly people often have medications they need to take regularly, so be sure that they have adequate supplies. Their prescriptions must be filled and refilled as necessary. 

If your loved one is taking several different medications, you might want to suggest they use a pill box organizer. The different compartments can be labeled with different days of the week and AM and PM doses. 

Get Some Help

It may be necessary for you to hire a helper, adult caretaker, or aide. It will be someone who helps your loved one with various daily activities such as housekeeping, showering, and errands. 

You should always check references or hire someone through a registered agency if you don’t know someone personally. 

Modify Their Home

There are numerous safety hazards to look at when an elderly person wants to stay living in their home. Some of these may require a simple fix, while others require modifications. Things to check include:

  • Overall lighting is bright enough in the house
  • Raised toilet
  • Ramp for walkers or wheelchairs
  • Grab bars and handrails in the shower and toilet
  • Cables, wires, and cords are tucked away to prevent trip hazards
  • Non-skid strips or mats in the bathtub or shower
  • Auto-sensor night lights plugged in throughout the house so they can see if they wake at night
  • Small rugs with raised edges should be removed as they can catch on walkers or canes
  • Installing and regular testing of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors

Talk About Their Finances

It’s not something senior people are comfortable talking about, but discussing their finances with them is important. Try to get them to discuss their financial needs and expenses. This is particularly important if they’re living on a fixed income or have a limited budget they must adhere to. 

Organize Their Paperwork

You might want to make sure they’re prepared for the future. This might include discussing their will or deciding on a power of attorney. 

Check Their Driving Abilities

Being able to drive gives a senior a certain amount of independence, however, there may come a time when they can no longer drive. 

Assess their driving abilities whenever you can and when driving becomes a safety issue, offer other options that might help. For example, you could suggest using a delivery service for groceries or hiring a driver. 

Help Them Stay Active

Keeping active and involved is vital for older adults. Exercise will help them keep healthy and could reduce the risk of falls. 

Loneliness, isolation, and even depression are also a risk, especially if they’ve lost their spouse. Check that they’re still involved with family and friends, and help them find opportunities to venture out and make new connections. 

Provide a Healthy Diet

Your loved ones may not be able to or want to cook for themselves. Nevertheless, they must be well fed because this helps them stay healthy. 

If you’ve got a busy schedule and can’t visit them every day, prepare some meals in advance. On the other hand, they may be eligible for assisted meal services, such as Meals on Wheels. 

Introduce Them to Tech

Technology can be used when taking care of elderly loved ones. For example, consider installing a motion sensor or camera system. They’ll provide information on how much your loved one is moving around, whether they’ve fallen, and other important information. 

You should also consider a medical alert system. This consists of a device that will alert you if something is wrong.  

Don’t Forget About Yourself

To care for an elderly loved one means you have to be both mentally and physically healthy yourself. Senior caregivers have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and stress. Try to divide the responsibilities between yourself and other family members. If there aren’t any other family members, look for others you can trust and can lend a helping hand.

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