If you’re concerned for your parents, grandparents or an aging family member who lives by themselves at home, you’re not alone. People are living longer thanks to significant advancements in health care, but that doesn’t stop the inevitable struggles associated with aging such as limited mobility or cognitive decline.
Acknowledging the realities of aging and accepting it are two different things, because no one, regardless of their ability to care for themselves, is particularly enthused with the idea of being carted off to an assisted living community. So it’s no surprise that older adults prefer to maintain their independence and lifestyle in the place they’ve called home for years, perhaps even decades.
While staying at home is not always a viable option, many seniors can remain at home with some special accommodations and care from a loved one or caregiver.
Many older Americans enjoy watching television or movies but may have trouble with the small buttons on their remote controls. They may also have trouble reading a clock or dialing on a phone due to the small numbers and the natural vision deterioration that accompanies the aging process.
Consider purchasing remotes with large numbers and clocks with digital displays since they are easier to read. Your loved one should have a cell phone in case of emergency, but can also benefit from a traditional phone with a large keypad which makes it easier to dial.
Mirrors can sometimes startle or confuse elderly people who may not always immediately recognize their own reflection. Try not to display mirrors around the house except the ones that are built in, usually in the restrooms.
If your loved one continues to live at home they need to make sure they are taking care of their health, and that includes staying hydrated. Keep a small, lightweight pitcher filled with water around so your parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle can drink plenty of water to avoid certain ailments including headaches, appetite suppression and sleeplessness. If pouring water is difficult, consider a water bottle or cup with a top and straw.
Prepare for Possible Dangers
You and your loved one should become aware of possible dangers associated with living alone at home and prepare for them accordingly. Some general home safety tips include:
- Using a medical alert system for emergencies
- Keeping a fire extinguisher and smoke detector on each floor
- Removing or tacking down all scattered rugs
- Making sure all stairs have sturdy rails or a stair lift if necessary
- Marking hot and cold faucets clearly
- Turning the water heater to 120°F to avoid scalding
- Storing your sharp knives in a rack
- Keeping all medications clearly labeled
Assistance for Your Loved One
Living at home is often the ideal option for seniors and their families, but the reality is that adult children cannot always be around to help their family members when they need it. Aging Solutions can step in, becoming part of the family and assisting your loved one in a variety of personal and home care activities while providing friendly companionship.
We are a strong proponent of the aging in place movement in the San Francisco Bay Area and have extensive experience helping our clients plan for long-term care. If you or your loved one needs a bit of assistance to continue living safely and happily at home, schedule a free consultation today for an assessment of your family’s situation.