How to care for an elderly person: 8 caregiving tips

The ageing population trend isn’t merely a concern for governments or healthcare institutions—it impacts every individual with elderly family members or loved ones, as well as those approaching their own golden years.

Maintaining good health in older age extends far beyond medical treatments. It encompasses holistic care, ensuring comfort, independence, and vitality for all of life.

Below, we present 8 invaluable tips and accompanying resources for people looking to provide the best care to their elderly loved ones.

8 tips for caring for an elderly person

1. Enlist help early on

Caring for ageing parents is a significant responsibility that often becomes more demanding as they grow older. Their needs tend to evolve over time, adding complexity to the caregiving process.

Waiting for a crisis to occur can make it challenging to assess their needs accurately, determine the frequency of care required, and identify the most suitable carers. Moreover, making critical decisions during an emergency can be exceedingly difficult when emotions run high.

To prevent such scenarios, involve the entire family right from the outset when devising a care plan. Providing care should be a collaborative effort, drawing support from both family members and friends. This may involve scheduling respite care on specific days or during certain times of the year, contributing to a fund for professional in-home care, or arranging for household cleaning services.

Respite care offers a valuable break for primary carers, allowing them to recharge and attend to personal matters without compromising the quality of care provided to their loved ones. Whether it’s a few hours a day, overnight stays, or extended periods, respite care provides temporary relief while ensuring continuity of care for the elderly. Explore respite care options from Oxford  Aunts to incorporate much-needed breaks into your caregiving routine.

Each contribution plays a crucial role in the collective support system. Attempting to shoulder the caregiving responsibilities alone can quickly lead to exhaustion.

2. Help them stay active

Living independently can be enriching for the elderly, but it shouldn’t lead to isolation from activities that keep them active and engaged. Participating in regular recreational, religious, and social activities offers numerous benefits for older adults, including improved physical health, enhanced cognitive function, and a greater sense of well-being.

If you’re unable to accompany your parent to these activities, consider hiring a companion to assist them. Alternatively, reach out to others within the community for support.

For example, neighbours or friends may be willing to provide transportation or accompany your parent to local events. Similarly, individuals from your parent’s church, temple, or synagogue community can help facilitate their attendance at various gatherings. Collaboration within these social circles not only ensures that your loved one remains connected but also fosters a sense of belonging and purpose in their daily life.

3. Ensure their home is safe and accessible

Creating a safe and accessible home environment is essential for older adults to maintain their independence and well-being. Here are some key steps to ensure their home is conducive to their needs:

  • Remove Hazards: Conduct a thorough assessment of the home to identify and eliminate potential hazards such as loose rugs, cluttered walkways, and slippery floors. Install grab bars in the bathroom and handrails on staircases to prevent falls.
  • Improve Accessibility: Make the necessary modifications to enhance accessibility throughout the home. This may include installing ramps for wheelchair access, lowering countertops, and widening doorways to accommodate mobility aids.
  • Ensure Adequate Lighting: Proper lighting is crucial for the elderly to navigate their home safely, especially during the nighttime hours. Installing bright lighting in hallways, staircases, and other high-traffic areas can minimise the risk of accidents.
  • Bedroom and Bathroom: Make sure the bedroom and bathroom are easily accessible and equipped with essential safety features. Consider installing a raised toilet seat, adjustable bed height, and bedside rails to enhance their independence and comfort.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Prepare for emergencies by installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Keep emergency contact information readily available and ensure that pathways are clear for emergency responders to access the home if needed.

4. Stay involved in their medical care

Ensuring the well-being of elderly loved ones as they age requires active involvement in their medical care. It starts with keeping those lines of communication wide open with their healthcare team, making sure you’re all on the same page about their health conditions and treatment plans. Going along with them to medical appointments not only shows support but also helps you ask the right questions and make sure their needs are being met.

In addition to understanding their medications, implementing practical strategies such as dosette boxes or medication reminders can help in managing their treatment regimen effectively. Keep a close eye on any changes in their health, too. If you notice things like forgetfulness, confusion, or shifts in mood, it’s a good idea to get them checked out by a doctor sooner rather than later.

Their emotional well-being matters just as much as their physical health. Look out for signs of things like feeling down or anxious, and be there to lend a listening ear or help them find the support they need. By being actively involved in their medical care and keeping an eye out for their well-being, you’re making sure they’re getting the best support possible.

5. Encourage them to socialise

Encouraging your elderly loved ones to socialise can have a big impact on their overall well-being. Research shows that older adults who spend time with friends tend to be healthier physically, emotionally, and mentally. So, make sure to nudge your loved one to get out there and connect with others, even if it’s just a phone call with a friend.

If they don’t have a bustling social circle, suggest activities where they can meet new people. Maybe they’d enjoy taking a class or joining a club that aligns with their interests, like dancing or a book club. These kinds of activities not only provide opportunities to make new friends but also keep them engaged and stimulated.

Grandchildren can also be a wonderful source of companionship for older adults. If you have children, consider involving your elderly parents in their lives by inviting them to babysit or spend quality time together. Whether it’s playing games or reading books, these interactions can bring joy and fulfilment to both generations.

6. Talk to them about finances

Having open conversations about finances with your elderly loved ones is crucial as they navigate the challenges that come with ageing. From managing medical expenses to addressing home safety concerns, there’s a lot to consider. Start by discussing their current financial situation, including any pensions or retirement savings they may have.

If they’re struggling to cover expenses like rent or mortgage payments, brainstorm together to find solutions that fit their budget. This might involve downsizing to a more affordable living arrangement or exploring government benefits that can help with heating bills or prescription costs.

It’s also important to address the issue of financial scams, as older adults are often targeted. Encourage them to stay vigilant and consider measures like getting a credit report check regularly to safeguard against identity theft.

By having these conversations and taking proactive steps to protect their financial well-being, you can help ensure that your elderly relative feels supported and secure as they age.

7.  Make the most of technology

Embracing technology can greatly enhance the lives of elderly individuals, enabling them to stay connected, informed, and independent. Help your loved one explore user-friendly devices and applications that can simplify daily tasks, such as smartphones, tablets, and voice-activated assistants.

Encourage them to use video calling platforms to stay in touch with family and friends, especially if they live far away. These virtual connections can help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness, fostering meaningful social interactions from the comfort of home.

Additionally, consider introducing them to helpful apps and online services that cater to their specific needs, such as medication reminders, grocery delivery services, or transportation apps for arranging rides. By harnessing the power of technology, your elderly relative can access valuable resources and support that enhance their quality of life.

8. Ensure their privacy and dignity

Protecting the privacy and dignity of elderly loved ones receiving care at home is important to ensuring they feel respected and valued. Privacy, the right to keep important aspects of oneself private, is fundamental to person-centred care and everyday courtesy. By taking a personalised approach to caregiving, you empower your loved one to maintain control over their unique identity, thoughts, relationships, personal space, and body.

Here are some ways to uphold privacy and dignity while providing care:

  • Give them space when needed, allowing them time for solitude and independence.
  • Respect their views and choices, acknowledging their autonomy and individual preferences.
  • Support their ability to make decisions for themselves, rather than imposing decisions on their behalf.
  • Avoid making assumptions about their desires and preferences; instead, communicate openly and listen attentively to their needs.
  • Provide care with empathy and compassion, demonstrating sensitivity to their emotions and concerns.
  • Encourage direct communication with them about their care, ensuring they are actively involved in decision-making processes.

Expert live-in care at home

Oxford Aunts is a fully-managed and CQC-regulated care provider located in the heart of Oxford. We have provided care services throughout Oxfordshire and surrounding counties for over 50 years. Our reputation is built on high standards of care, local expertise and an approach to care delivery trusted by families throughout our community and beyond.

We are dedicated to ensuring people of all ages and walks of life can receive the care they need in the comfort of their own homes. Do not hesitate to contact us to learn how we can help you and your family.


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