Caring for a senior parent or relative with a chronic illness requires dedication and patience. The elderly are much like children—they can be demanding, short-tempered and irritable when they’re sick. Chronic pain, in particular, can be extremely distressing for the elderly, as it not only makes them dependent on medication but also affects their mobility and thereby their independence.
If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior citizen living with chronic pain, here are three ways you can help improve their quality of life.
Learn to give just the right amount of care
It can take some practice, but with time you need to learn how to help and support in moderation to an elderly in need of care. Helping too much or too little are two extreme ends that should be avoided. Instead, to offer meaningful support to a sick parent, help them in regaining their independence and remember to step back once a while.
Caring too much can make a senior feel helpless and depressed, which will only worsen the problem. So tread the middle path—be present but don’t be overbearing. Give your loved one the freedom and opportunity to do some everyday tasks without help.
Explore alternative, nature-based therapies
Taking conventional medication every day can be taxing for an elderly patient, and prolonged use of most pain-relief medicines comes with several side effects. Exploring alternative, nature-based healing in such cases can provide a much-needed relief from popping pills.
For instance, you can explore herbal home-based remedies or over-the-counter supplements with proven pain-relief ingredients such as turmeric, boswellia, ginger, willow bark, cloves, essential oils, and more. Practicing certain yoga poses daily can also help elderly patients of chronic pain.
Aside from these, medical cannabis has been found to be effective in managing chronic pain and inflammation, including joint pain and stiffness caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve pain in multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms and chronic headaches. Today medical marijuana is easily available as scrumptious edibles, making it convenient for seniors to consume the required daily dosage with ease.
Don’t work in isolation
A person’s body and mind heal better when they do not feel that they are all alone. To ease the pressure and stress of managing a chronic illness, find local support groups where you and your parent can meet and interact with others dealing with similar issues.
Community support is even more essential if your elderly loved one is alone at home during the day. It can give them a peer group to share their concerns, challenges and daily victories and be a source of inspiration when they’re feeling low.
Last but not least, remember to take time off for yourself every once a while to avoid feeling drained or burdened from constantly supporting a family member.