In-Home Care for the Elderly

Housework

Help with housework is one of the most basic needs of the elderly. Discuss a cleaning schedule with the elderly person or elderly client. Always put things back in the exact spot you found them to avoid confusion for your elderly client. Use environmentally-friendly cleaning products so as to not irritate the elderly person's eyes or throat. Use white distilled vinegar and baking soda if you cannot find cleaning products that are chemical-free.

Meals

Be prepared to do the grocery shopping either with or for the elderly person. Keep a list of the person's food allergies and dietary restrictions. Choose healthy foods and snacks. Serve meals at regular times each day. Routine is important, because many elderly people take their medications at meal time.

Doctor Visits

Doctor visits can be confusing to an elderly person. Prepare for doctor visits by keeping a list of their medications and a journal of their health concerns. Record any new developments or ailments such as rashes, coughs or changes in weight or blood sugar. Monitor the elderly person's blood pressure and weight with a home blood pressure monitor and scale. If you are permitted, go into the exam room with your client. Listen carefully and take notes on what the doctor has to say. Ask questions. Request informational pamphlets and printouts on the elderly person's conditions and medications.

Medications

Monitoring and distributing medications is important to an elderly person's health. Many elderly clients find pill bottles hard to open and difficult to read. Consider setting up medication in weekly plastic pill cases that are labeled with the day of the week and the time of day, such as morning or evening. If your client or elderly friend or family member cannot take his or her own medication, you will have to do it, but otherwise keep medications out of reach. Elderly with memory impairment can forget they have taken their medications and accidentally overdose or misplace them. Remember to refill all medications before they have run out. Providing in-home care for the elderly can be both challenging and rewarding. First, however, the elderly person should be evaluated by a professional, such as a medical social worker, to determine the degree of care he or she needs. The most basic level of care includes housework, meals, doctor visits and medications. More difficult tasks, such as bathing and dressing, may require paid help. Tips for helping an elderly person in his or her home are the focus of this article.