It’s vital for families of all shapes and sizes to stick together! After all, sometimes, we’re all we’ve got. No matter what problems may arise, no matter how tough things get, it’s a comfort to know that we have each other.
And this is never more true than it is for grandparents and great grandparents. It’s an age where friends and partners start to slip away, which can result in feelings of lonelinessss. It’s important that we, the younger generations, are there for them in this time of need. But how do we do this most effectively?
Excellent question – and one this post will hopefully answer for you.
If you choose to place them in a care home
Care homes have a reputation for being pseudo-dumping grounds for our parents and grandparents. However, if you take the time to choose the right one, this isn’t the case. You have to make sure your relative is comfortable, happy and safe before you make a decision.
Make sure the care home is suitable for your needs
If your elderly relative has a certain disability, or is unable to clean themselves, then the care home needs to provide this. Some care homes also specialise in certain diseases like dementia or arthritis, so factor this in too.
There are plenty of other factors to consider too. Is the care home close enough to shops and amenities as well as family and friends? Does it come pre-furnished, and can you bring in your own? Do you want to be able to eat in your room rather than eating in a communal area?
Not every care home will hit each of your needs, so you may have to compromise in certain areas. Just make sure you’re happy with your choice before committing – it’s hard to move back out again!
Choose a home that values privacy
I’ve seen some people offload their elders to any old care home, and this isn’t the way to go. They’re people too you know, and they deserve to live with dignity and privacy. A care home like www.hc-care-homes.co.uk/ contains individual rooms with ensuites, so privacy is kept.
This does multiple things. One, it gives your elders the confidence to live independently, free from relying on other people to get things done. Secondly, if they have an embarrassing condition, this allows them to contain it in their own private space.
Visit the home before making a final decision
Online pictures can only tell you so much – it’s important that you visit the property before finalising. Make sure you talk to the other residents, and make sure you talk to the staff. This will allow you to gain an unbiased insight into day-to-life in this home.
If you choose to host them in your own home
Bringing another person into the family home can put a lot of pressure on your household, but it can be made easier. After all, family units are there to stick together! So try and look past any potential overcrowding issues with some nifty solutions.
It’s unlikely that your home, in its current state, will be properly outfitted to host an elderly relative. As such, you need to take certain steps to ensure that they will be comfortable. Depending on their current state of mobility, this job will either be very big, or very small.
Firstly, look to make your stairs a safer passage of access. It’s not that expensive to install a wooden handrail, and this can allow your elder to go up and downstairs more easily. Another option is a stair lift, if their mobility is non-existent. This is a tricky job, and may not even be possible if your stairs are too narrow.
And it’s not going to be easy to combat this. Some options on your plate are to extend the property, or convert a downstairs space into a bathroom. Both won’t come cheap, but if you know this will be your living situation for many years then it’s a worthwhile investment.
Consult the whole family
You may be paying the bills, but your kids and partner live here too. It’s the family home, and the whole family should be able to weigh in on any decisions.
You all need to sit down and discuss the situation. If your elderly relative has an illness, you need to figure out how you can help them cope with it. If they can’t walk, you need to sort out who’s in charge of bringing them meals. Perhaps you could devise a rota or task sheet of sorts.
Above all, just let everyone voice their opinion. If a certain person is unhappy with this new living arrangement, you all need to work together to make it easier
Staying financially stable
Obviously, another body means more electricity, water, gas and food is consumed. Your elder’s basic pension may be able to cover this, but if it’s not enough, you need more options.
I’d start by looking into state benefits for the elderly. In the UK, benefits like Personal Independence Payments can help you cope with a family member’s illness or disability. This is useful if you live with an elderly relative who’s poorly, so enquire to see if you’re eligible.
Your relative will also have access to free eye care, travel and prescriptions, so factor these in when budgeting. Plus, they get a winter fuel allowance, which could be used by you when things get a little chilly over Christmas.
There are plenty more benefits too, and sources like www.gov.uk/ offer you advice on these. I’d recommend that you look into your options as soon as possible, so you don’t miss out on any payments.
Nobody said this was going to be easy – far from it – but it’s important we take care of the people who took care of us. Whether you decide on a care home or your family home, make sure you’ve considered every avenue before you commit to a plan. After all, a person’s health, livelihood and well-being is at stake!
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