Tips for Caring for Elderly Relatives Around the Holidays

Posted by Bethaney Wallace on 2nd Nov 2013

This time of year, family members of all ages will be traveling to see loved ones. That means cross-country flights, long drives, train trips, and practically any other type of transportation available. While young, spry relatives may not have much issue with these travel arrangements (besides the inconvenience, that is), the same can’t be said for older members. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles – whatever the relation, those who are getting on in years have a harder time traveling. Long hours are simply harder on their bodies, not to mention the crowds and colder weather.

Caring for these relatives can be difficult, especially when it’s not a routine event. To make the most out of everyone’s holidays, follow these recommend tips.

Make a Safety Checklist

Whether this is for your benefits or the relative’s, a checklist can be a great way to make sure everything is under control. Write down medications that need to be taken (and at what time), along with any restrictions they may offer. Remind yourself to ensure their cane, walker, or wheelchair is in tow at all times, and look out for any hazards, such as loose rugs or tubs without railings. (And be sure to fill in with help, if needed.)

If necessary, talk to their doctor when making the list to ensure that all important areas are covered for the duration of the stay. (Whether theirs or yours.)

Suggest Medication Reminders

If your family member is having a hard time remembering to take his or her medication, it might be time to enlist outside help. Medication reminders are offered by many services, such as home care providers, etc. These pros offer varying levels of involvement and cater to individual needs. Even if the help is small, it can be the stepping stone needed to be sure all doses are being taken, and on time.

Talk with Local Home Helper Services

In extreme cases or long-term stays, home helper options help ease the stress involved with taking care of others. See what type of services they have available, and determine whether or not it’s a good fit for your individual family member. Even if you don’t decide to sign on, they may have advice or tips that can help everything move more smoothly.

Be Honest

When safety is at risk, it’s no time to help your family member into activities they shouldn’t be performing. Don’t be afraid to let them know what they are and aren’t capable of, especially in a new place or dangerous weather conditions. Thought it’s best to be gentle, explain the potential repercussions; it won’t hurt to offer a standby, such as a favorite card game or TV program to watch.

Ask for Help

If elderly family members are becoming a handful, don’t be afraid to ask for help from others. Various relatives can take turns with these ongoing responsibilities, evening out the overall work load. For instance, if you helped Mom schedule her medicine intakes, your brother can get her to and from the car during the next family outing. Don’t be afraid to get the kids involved as well; small hands are great for holding onto canes or pulling doors shut. (Let’s face it, as much as we’d like it to not be considered work, it really can be work.)

No matter the distance traveled or the length of time you and your loved ones will spend together this holiday season, remember there are several ways to easily take care of older members. The more detailed the plan, the more likely everyone is to have a pleasant, safe visit.