For many elderly people, old age means loneliness, limited mobility, and declining mental acuity. At O’Flynn Medical, we work with nursing homes, hospitals, and private individuals, providing them with a range of professional medical-grade appliances to make elderly care easier to provide. We speak regularly with old people and their carers about the challenges the senior years bring and we listen to their advice on how we can help them.
At this time of year we tend to hibernate a little bit recovering from a busy Christmas. Cold and wet weather with dark evenings mean we may not bump into our neighbours on the street or down in the local shop. Please find some of our tips for consideration for the elderly in your life and community this time of year.
We know how easy it is for old people to fall into loneliness. Maybe their close family lives some distance away; they have recently lost their long term partner or they have moved to a new community where they do not know anyone. Loneliness can be so debilitating that it is recognised as a medical condition as bad for one’s health as obesity or smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. In Ireland, almost two-thirds of people aged over 80 live alone (for over 65s the figure is one-third. Also, 15%-20% of people over 65 are susceptible to dementia and cardiovascular disease.
You have the power to be able to ease some of that loneliness by providing some form of elderly care. Elderly people can be stubborn when it comes to accepting help. Persist and engage with them. Call them for a chat, pop in and see them; even ten minutes can break the monotony of their day. Make sure they know you are there for them.
When you communicate with aged persons, make sure it’s about them. They might not have spoken to another human being for some time. Give them a brain workout by asking what it was like when they were young, their first job, etc. or just speak to them about something they are passionate about.
Another way you can help relieve loneliness is to introduce your elderly relative or friend to their local day centre or charity. You can arrange transport if necessary, and even accompany them on their first visit. These places are experts in providing all types of elderly care. Alternatively, take them to their local pub for a few hours one evening; it is a great way for them to get to know other people in the community.
In Ireland, we are fortunate to have voluntary organisations that provide a range of elderly care services:
Friends of the Elderly provide friendship and emotional support.
Alone, focus on helping elderly people live a better quality of life. They supply homes and provide training through BSupport on keeping in touch through social media.
Age Action provides a range of services, including charity shops, providing computers and teaching older people how to use them.
One way you can help is to volunteer your services and help provide elderly care.
An important way to help an elderly relative or friend is to make sure that they stay healthy. Check they are taking their medication correctly and that they have sufficient amounts to last beyond their next prescription. Arrange their flu jab and take them along to the appointment. This is critical this time of year with a very bad flu epidemic and severely overcrowded hospitals.
Don’t allow mobility needs to prevent an elderly person from getting out and about or coming to stay at your home or over for dinner. Often, the specialist equipment used by an old person can be a prohibiting factor in you providing elderly care when they stay away from home. This does not have to be the case. At O’Flynn Medical, we both sell and rent a wide range of specialist equipment. Our range includes:
General Tips on Elderly Care
When helping an elderly person, it is crucial that you don’t make them feel like they are a burden. You must seek their advice on what they would like and include them. When they visit you, ask if they want to help with the preparations. It could be as simple as peeling veg or something more challenging such as making the dessert. Whatever you do, don’t just plonk them in a chair in the corner and leave them there.
Old people have routines, respect them. These could be around times medication is taken, which may also have a bearing on mealtimes. Some old people wake early and consequently go to bed early, don’t try and make them break their routine. Talk to them, find out what their day usually looks like and plan around their usual timetable.
Holidaying with accessibility issues needn’t be a problem and it is a great form of elderly care. Most travel agents now specialise in holidays for the elderly and people with disabilities. The Irish transport system is playing its part too. Airports are happy to provide help providing they are given 48 hours notice and most buses, trams and trains are wheelchair accessible. At O’Flynn Medical we regularly work with hotels and holiday homes to have specialist rental equipment installed ready for your arrival.
A Final Word on elderly care
Think about those elderly people who are already part of your life and those that aren’t yet, such as the old lady in the local shop who you say good morning to. Keep in touch and offer to help in all the way of elderly care mentioned above. Let them know you are only on the other end of the phone or they can knock on your door for a cuppa and a chat.
If you would like to discuss any topic raised in this article please feel free to contact our team by phone on 1890 440 440 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.