To some, it may seem overwhelming at first to care and attend to the older adult in your life, more so if they are ill and require a lot more attention. However, this doesn’t have to be a chore, take Natalie Ineza, for example, who says she enjoys spending time with her grandmother. She has discovered that keeping her active by taking walks and even dancing a bit doesn’t only keep her strong, but happy too. Ineza’s 83-year-old grandmother suffers from illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, and has become so weak that doctors advised her to do a little exercise often to stay active. Ineza was also warned not to leave her grandmother idle for long as she may get lonely and depressed. Ineza was also urged by the doctors to include her grandmother in every decision or conversation about her care so that she feels involved. She notes that as her grandmother became weaker, relatives had a meeting about taking turns to care for her, for instance, with grocery shopping or household chores, which has eased her life. Also, the family hired a house-help specifically to make sure she eats on time, and helps out when others are busy with work and other duties. As they age, people lose the energy to care about themselves, which is why they need assistance from caretakers, but they ought to be treated with respect, love, and patience. Although it’s overwhelming and may seem stressful, it’s necessary to know that the elderly don’t wish to be weak or depend on others for care and support. Dr Edem Danyo, a health practitioner, explains that people become vulnerable as they age just like when they were babies. That’s why the elderly need special attention and care, just like a baby. He says that their health is important because old adults are usually prone to chronic illnesses, like diabetes and hypertension. These two chronic diseases require that their medication is up-to-date and that they take the medication on time and always. “Also, if the elderly person is bedridden, caregivers are supposed to be turning them regularly to prevent bedsores as that could result in infection,” Dr Danyo says. Since the elderly are not as strong as they used to be, even though some wish to do things for themselves, caregivers should make sure their basic grooming, like bathing, is either supervised or done for them to keep them healthy and clean, Dr Danyo emphasises. He adds that their clothing should be changed regularly, even those in diapers need extra attention to prevent urinary tract infection which is common in the elderly. Dr Danyo says that since the elderly can’t eat as much, supplements should be encouraged daily for them to meet the requirements. Also, a balanced diet should be enforced—a more protein diet is better than a diet filled with carbs and this is important because as they age, they need to preserve more muscle mass and strength. “They require patience and extra attention, they therefore shouldn’t be treated harshly or forced to do anything but rather, be motivated as they are in a vulnerable state,” Dr Danyo says. Dr Danyo highlights that the elderly are less likely to thrive on their own even though some may think they can, but they mostly need someone by their side to support them and help with chores and ensure that they are well taken care of. Most of them run the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions), which is common among the elderly. He adds that they shouldn’t be abused no matter the situation. As stated by Health & Wellness, a health platform, it is best to take a good look around the home and assess what may be a safety hazard when taking care of elderly adults. Some may be simple fixes while other modifications may be more involved. These may include checking the overall lighting in the house to make sure it is bright enough, installing a raised toilet, installing a ramp for wheelchairs or walkers, installing handrails and grab bars at the toilet and shower, removing extra clutter that is strewn around or furniture that is in the way. “An older adults may not be comfortable or willing to talk about their finances. But you must try to have open discussions about their financial needs and expenses, especially if they live on a fixed income or there is a budget to be adhered to.” Experts say that many elderly people want to remain independent for long, and they may be bitter about your efforts to try to care for them or connect them with eldercare resources. However, you ought to be patient and empathetic while offering them assistance.