How to take care of elderly at home?

A father and son having a lively conversation with a elderly parent outdoors

Your mother is becoming an invalid now,” the doctor said, “and so I think we should see if there is a vacancy for her in a nursing home.”

The daughter responded with a startle. So did her mother, but in a different way—painfully.

The specter of a great, dreary house loomed before her, and she already saw herself sitting among unhappy old people.

But the cheerful voice of her daughter brought her back to reality,

Don’t worry, Mother. I’ll have a talk with Jan about having you come to live with us.”

Her mother shook her head and said:

Oh, no, dear child. You already have so much to do with your family ”

But the daughter noted:

Her mouth said ‘No,’ but her eyes pleaded: Please don’t leave me alone; take me with you."

Now the daughter, in addition to the care of her immediate family, would have her mother to look after. Would she really fit in with her daughter’s family?

Undoubtedly, many such questions arise. And as the numbers of older ones increase, more families are facing these questions.

Sadly the attitude towards the elderly this days often is: “Let each one look after himself; I have enough troubles of my own.”

The results of this hard mentality are plain to see: Millions of older people having a horrible “evening” of their life because hardly anyone cares about them.

But why do they need our care? Just take a moment and consider their needs.

Why the elderly need our care?


Sometimes an aged person becomes as helpless at the end of his life as he was at the beginning.

This becomes a liability in old age rather than the asset it was in babyhood.

Old age and tiredness often go hand in hand. Thus things that others quite easily can do may require great effort for older people.

So they be unable at times even to prepare a proper meal for themselves.

That is why they need someone especially to care for their nutrition. Often they neglect fresh fruits and vegetables.

And because older people often drink too little, they may begin to show symptoms of drying up or dehydrating. In turn, this can lead to drowsiness and confusion.

Many older persons would rather avoid noise and bustle. They prefer to watch the affairs of the day from a quiet corner.

But remember that, generally, they continue to be interested in things around them.

After a full and interesting life, would you like to be completely disregarded?

Of course not! The worst “punishment” to which an elderly person can be condemned is loneliness.

Yet if aged parents are put in a nursing home to get them out of the way, this may condemn them to such punishment.

However, this is not to say that, under certain circumstances, the best solution may not be a nursing home for your aged parents.

Their physical condition may be such that they are essentially bedridden, if not totally so, and they may be in need of constant nursing care.

You may have to work to pay the bills, and so are not able to stay at home to provide such care. No other member of the family may be in position to do so either.

Some nursing homes have proved to be fine provisions for persons in such circumstances.

But it would best if we could make room for them whenever possible at our homes or take of care of them when in their homes?

How can it be done?

Taking care of elderly at home


How can we make room for them? While not every family may be able to, many have found that they could.

If there is an attic, boys in particular like to sleep there. Or, bunk beds (one bed placed above another) in the children’s bedroom might solve a space problem.

Perhaps even the whole family could move to larger quarters so that there would be a room available for Granddad or Grandma, or for both of them.

A certain amount of forethought is required when taking a more or less infirm person into the house.

For example, it could be dangerous to have loose mats on the floor.

Also, ask yourself: Is the light in the corridors bright enough? Are there hand grips on the walls of the bathroom and the corridors?

Is the bed at a convenient height for them? Is there a bell to ring in case they need someone’s help during the night?

Doing nothing all day long is not wholesome, and certainly not for elderly people.

There are many little jobs they might like to do—from peeling potatoes to babysitting (the latter if they are able to get about a bit).

One woman taught her blind mother to knit, which made the elderly lady much happier.

If older people still are able to do something reasonably well, do not “mother” them, even if you could perhaps do the job more neatly yourself.

For elderly people, nothing can break up the day so delightfully as associating with children. And many little ones enjoy such association immensely!

Likely nobody else besides Granddad or Grandma has so much time for the youngsters, or is able to tell stories or experiences that are as interesting as those they can tell.

If an aged parent no longer is able to walk, it may be advisable to get a wheelchair. At first, you may have some difficulty getting Grandma or Granddad into it. (“What will people think?”)

But when he or she becomes aware that it will now be possible to get out of the house more often, generally all objections will be silenced.

Yet, what can be done for needy parents if they want to live alone or if they are put into a rest home after all? In such cases, some have moved so as to be nearer to their infirm or lonely parents.

Then, one of the grandchildren may be permitted to spend the night at the grandparents’ home. Or if they are in a nursing home, regular visits may be made on them.

When such a move closer is not possible, a person may ask a good neighbor to look in on his or her parents regularly.

Still, from time to time it would be proper to visit elderly parents or grandparents to make a brief “inspection.”

Are they getting all they need in the way of food and heat? Is everything clean? Does anything need to be repaired?

Are they perhaps growing lonely? How is their health? Remember, it is your responsibility to see that they receive proper care.

Above all, what your aging parents need is the assurance that you love them very much and that they are not a nuisance to you.

Now and then put your arm around them in a friendly way and give them a good hug. An older person has great need of loving warmth and contact.

And listen attentively when your parents are telling you something, even though you have heard it all before.

It is very distressing for the elderly if they notice that people no longer pay attention to what they say.

Feeling that they are not wanted can result in gloom and ultimately in an earlier death.

So, what will you do now if either or both of your parents should become infirm?

Why not sit down quietly and “turn over” in your mind all the things your parents have done for you in your youth, and even thereafter.

Ask yourself: Where would I be without them? What example can I give my children by lovingly caring for my parents?

Once you have answers to those questions, it will be easy not hold back good from those to whom it is owing.

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