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Caring for our older loved ones is never easy, but with patience and compassion, it can be a rewarding experience for all parties involved. More than 65 million people the U.S. alone choose to provide health care for their loved ones. This helps older adults to age in place in the comfort of their own home. As Sikhs, embracing selflessness and compassion is a part of lives, as is taking care of our elders. If you are providing care for a sick or elderly relative, it’s your responsibility to preserve the sanctity of life while alleviating suffering. It’s important to act respectfully as a caregiver while also providing adequate medical assistance. Here are some things to keep in mind when caring for a loved one at home.

Keep Your Home Clean

Cleanliness is a part of the Sikh lifestyle, but it becomes especially important when housing a sick or aging relative in your home. A dirty environment can be a breeding ground for mold spores and bacteria that can cause respiratory problems, digestive issues, infections, and much more. Make an effort to keep your house clean on a constant basis, keeping the sink clear of soiled dishes, the bathroom free of mildew, and surfaces free of dust and dirt.

Just as important as keeping a clean house is helping your loved one to stay washed and bathed. As they age, your relative may find it more challenging to clean themselves each day. As a caregiver, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your loved one is able to attend to their grooming rituals. You may need to help with bathing, including washing, conditioning, and combing hair.

Install a Medical Alert System

Unfortunately, we can’t always be there for our loved ones, as much as we might want to be. If you have other responsibilities during the day, such as work or childcare, you may want to look into getting a medical alert system for your relative. With an alert system, your loved one has a safety net at hand that’s just the press of a button away. In the event of an emergency, they can easily contact a command center that will patch through either to you or a hospital. Some systems also have fall detection monitors that call for help even when an individual is unable to reach their medical alert system button.

Providing care from home is a selfless and rewarding act, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. As Sikhs, it is our responsibility to give our loved ones proper medical care, love and compaionship as well as a spiritually uplifting environment (such as reading daily Banis out loud with them and having recordings of Gurbani Kirtan or Paath playing in the house) as they continue their journey through life. With respect and compassion, you can make this difficult time in life a little bit easier for everyone.

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

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