The festive season is well upon us and in the rush of Christmas parties, buying gifts, meeting end of year deadlines, and all the regular household tasks, it’s all we do to stay afloat.
The arrival of Christmas day means we finally get the opportunity to stop and catch up with family and friends that we may not have seen for a few months or even since the previous year. If you have elderly relatives, it might be that during this time that you realise that they have aren’t managing as well as they used to.
If you’ve noticed changes with your relative, what are some of things you can watch out for during this Christmas season, and what support can they access? We highlight ten of the most common issues for seniors and how to get help.
- Struggling to keep the house clean
No one likes vacuuming, but keeping a tidy and clean house makes a huge difference to our health and wellbeing. If you’ve noticed that your relative isn’t able to manage their household tasks as well as they used to, despite their protests that they can manage, there is something that you can do to help. Domestic assistance services are available to help with washing, dishes, vacuuming, shopping for food – even the ironing.
- Not eating well
Have you noticed that Nanna is having a hard time getting to the supermarket, or is finding dinner time a chore because she can’t quite manage to cut up the vegetables anymore? Meal preparation services help by preparing food for seniors to cook, or by accompanying them to the local shops to pick up groceries. These services don’t include cooking, but anything else to do with preparing a meal.
- Inability to drive
Many of us take for granted our ability to jump into the car and drive wherever we need to go but what if you weren’t able to drive anymore? Transportation services are available for those who have regular appointments they need to keep, such as a weekly trip to the shops or a regular doctor appointment. You may need to ask your relative how they are getting around, and whether driving is still a safe option for them and other road users.
- Trouble dressing or showering
There are many reasons your dad isn’t able to dress or shower any more, from disability to injuries or balance problems. Whatever the cause, it’s important that they are able to access professional, caring services to keep their hygiene and spirits high. Personal care services include everything from grooming to going to the toilet and everything in between. Carers can even come multiple times a day depending on the needs of the senior.
- Not getting out of the house much
Has your relative suddenly become a home body when they used to love socialising? While solitude has many advantages, it can lead to loneliness and isolation when it’s because of an inability to leave the house rather than by choice. Day respite centres are perfect places to receive care while meeting new people and enjoying a myriad of social activities. They also provide carers with the chance to take a break, do household tasks, or go to work.
- Wanting a more active social life
All of us have had times in our lives where we wanted more social connection, but for some seniors who have lost friends or partners this can be more difficult, particularly if they don’t have a lot of transport options. If your relative is talking about wanting to have a more active social life but isn’t sure how to achieve it, tell them about social support services, which can help by providing transport around your community to join in with special interest groups, take you to visit friends and family, or visit you in your home for a cup of tea or to play a game.
- Problems with mobility or injuries
Many people don’t realise that allied health professionals, that is physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, exercise physiologists, and social workers, can come to your home if you’re a senior. These health professionals help with a myriad of issues to support seniors to remain active and healthy including assessment of their home to make it more comfortable and safer. If you’ve noticed over Christmas that Grandpa is starting to trip over rugs or is having trouble managing the stairs, get in touch with their doctor and look into the allied health services that are available.
- Need nursing care
Has your relative had a tough year health wise? Whether it’s been a trip (or more) to hospital which has left them needing regular nursing care, or a chronic health condition, they can get help without leaving home. Our registered nurses can perform a wide range of nursing services to help your relative continue to live in their home for as long as possible. This includes catheters, wounds, stomas, chronic illness, diabetes, and even palliative care.
- Requiring more care or more complex care
If your relative already receives care, Christmas is a great time to review the year and see if their needs have changed. You might realise that the small amount of care they currently receive isn’t enough to see them through anymore, or they might be regaining their independence and want to reduce their services in the near year. If they need more complex care they may be eligible for a home care package.
- Need 24 hour care
It can be a tricky subject, but it’s common to find that over the year your mum or dad, or even both, need more care than can be provided in the home. A gentle and compassionate conversation might be a good idea to discuss the possibility of moving into an aged care facility that can provide 24 hour care. Be prepared for resistance at first but having an open and honest discussion can be beneficial for everyone. Alternatively you might find they are open and even positive about the idea and have been considering it themselves.
If residential care is an option, you can take a tour of a facility, or try residential respite care to get a feel for what living in an aged care facility is like. Many facilities even have couple rooms to ensure that partners are able to stay together.
As you can see, there are a myriad of aged care services that can help seniors at home or with permanent residential care, and Christmas is a great time to make sure your elderly relatives are getting the care and support they need to stay healthy and live life to the fullest.
If you have questions or would like to discuss options, call us on 1800 Ozcare (1800 692 273) to speak with a helpful staff member or enquire online.