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How to Manage Changing Care Needs for an Elderly Relative

Nothing stays the same forever and the care needs of your relative will undoubtedly change over time. Their health may be the same for many years and then change gradually, or there may be more rapid changes in care needs that take place over the space of weeks or months. In any case, it is important to be prepared for changing care needs in order to keep your relative in the best health possible.

Making Future Plans

When you make initial care plans for a relative, try to plan ahead too and anticipate changing needs in the future. For example, care in sheltered accommodation could include the option for personal care at a later date. Care at home could begin with a carer coming in once a day and develop to live-in care. It is not always possible to meet current needs as well as future needs in one solution, but it is worth looking at this so that your relative does not need to switch systems or carers too often.


Making a Living Will

It is possible for relative to record what they want to happen in their care as a living will or written record. This is a legally binding document that will be automatically valid should your relative lose decision-making capacity as they age.


Coping with Gradual Decline

Many health issues associated with old age progress slowly and changes happen almost unnoticeably. A condition such as Alzheimer’s can be slow onset. It is more difficult in these cases to identify when needs change. You do need to watch out for difference in mobility and cognition which may change the level of care they need, although it is easier to plan for care to change as you have more time.

Dealing with Sudden Decline

You may not have time to plan for a change in care if your relative has a fall, a stroke, or suffers from a sudden illness. Health conditions can deteriorate rapidly and you will need to move fast in order to get the care your relative needs in place. It will be obvious that their needs have changed but you may need help in getting appropriate care structures in place.


In all cases, talk to your relative and ask them what they need. Chat about how they are getting on and pay attention to their concerns. They may be able to offer you valuable insight that will help you develop a care plan that responds to their changing needs.


Care at home

Image: Image courtesy of stockimages/

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