For most of us, we reach a time in our lives when we get to essentially repay all the joys we brought our parents in our youth by looking after them as they age. Of course, it seems like the very least we can do given the years of sacrifice our parents made. Yet, caring for an ageing relative really is hard work and below we share some of the most common concerns we’ve experienced.
Finance – It was probably at the top of the list for our parents as we were growing up and it’s a sad reality that so much of our concern boils down to cash but ageing is expensive at any stage and caring for an elderly relative can have an impact on your finances, as well as theirs. Whether it’s days off work to take your parents to hospital appointments or the additional costs of travel, even the smallest of costs can add up.
Time – When we are running around like headless chickens the days and weeks seem to fly by yet as we age, the days can seem incredibly long and lonely. Although a 20 minute visit can break up a day, it is easy, as a carer, to find yourself losing hours every week to running errands and completing basic tasks. The time involved in caring for an ageing relative can soon mount up whilst remaining almost insignificant in terms of quality interaction.
Health – Obviously the main concern around our ageing loved ones is their health. Yet, it’s hard to really know what we are worrying about beyond the general ageing process. It’s difficult to know what is ‘normal’, healthy an expected as we age and what we need to understand as indicators of additional deterioration or cause for concern. As we age, we often need much more health maintenance and understanding how to help people achieve that on a day to day basis can be concerning and all consuming for those involved.
Loneliness – Loneliness can have a huge impact on our mental health and well being, and as we age it can be harder to interact with others. As a carer of an elderly relative, the feeling of responsibility regarding loneliness can be overwhelming and incredibly difficult to manage without making huge sacrifices in your personal and professional life.
Balance – Perhaps most importantly, when we are caring for an elderly relative, the hardest thing to achieve can be balance and that is largely due to the age old concerns we’ve detailed. It is likely that you will have your own family, career and social life to maintain whilst whilst also providing care – and finding a balance that makes time for the various priorities in your life, including your own health and well being can be incredibly hard.
Sadly, here at Elephant we don’t have all the answers, in fact we don’t have many of them at all. Yet, with a combined love of health improvement and technology, we do know that our ageing population are much more familiar with technology than we may give them credit for and we also know that technology (some of ours in particular) can help the ageing population independently monitor and review a variety of key health indicators, making it just a little easier to care for them with balance and slightly less concern.