New Year. New Resolutions. Again?
How your parents can enjoy the golden years. In their own home:
Most of us don’t want to admit it, but as we grow old, we are also going to get more vulnerable to age-related illnesses, debilitating diseases (such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, for instance), inability to take care of ourselves, or do the cooking, cleaning and looking after the house, going shopping and making it to doctor’s appointments or even just meeting up with friends. For family members and caregivers, this gradual slide into powerlessness, fragility and the dangers of accidents ad sudden medical crises is a matter of constant worry and tension. So, how can you, as a caregiver, make it possible for your parents, or other beloved family members, to have a secure, safe and cared for life in their own homes?
Loving and caring at home during the golden years
To start with, your parents and loved ones will need your help to rethink and plan for the future – while they are still able to take care of themselves. Take into consideration their lifestyle needs, their health requirements and the financial support available to them. Don’t put off planning for the future. The longer you take to help them make the right decisions, the more difficult it will be to put the right support systems in place.
Housing needs change with age: Can they continue to live at home? Is there dependable home help and infrastructure in place? Or will you need to consider assisted living or senior housing for them? There are any number of senior housing available nowadays – check them out. Discuss your plans with your parents to avoid any misunderstandings later on.
Adapting to the needs of senior living, at home
Maybe, your parents do not want to move from their home at all. After all, they have lived there for decades. They feel safe in a community they have been part of as young people, as parents raising their children, with friends and relatives surrounding them. Their doctors and specialists may be close by. They have easy access to transportation. But, on the minus side, is their home really safe and secure for aging people? Here are some tips, technology and ways to make homes safe and enjoyable for senior living.
Get your parents to engage with the world outside
Technology offers seniors unlimited opportunities to connect with friends and family for chatty conversations or quick updates – essential if your parents are not to suffer from isolation and depression. You could persuade them to try easy-to-use computers, with touch-screen capabilities.
Emphasize the importance of maintaining good health
Dealing with medication and sustaining mobility are two major components in looking after physical health at home. There are many ways of doing so, including:
- Explore medication management systems that can issue reminders, dispense meds, monitor medication usage and notify caregivers when doses are missed.
- Get pill dispensers – check out automated pill dispensers that remind seniors when to take a dose and what amount to take.
- Seniors who live alone often have problems planning meals and getting the nutrition they need. You can use technology to keep track of what they should be eating and when, or get home help aids who will check in with your parents to ensure that they are eating right.
As your parents age, they may experience new mental and physical challenges. It’s quite common for seniors to have accidents, or wander off. Look into technologies that can help keep seniors safe when they live at home. You could consider:
- Home monitoring systems: These systems operate on strategically placed sensors and cameras, from motion detectors to leak or flood detectors to item-specific detectors on doors, beds, toilets, chairs, etc.
- GPS tracking systems: These can alert the relevant authorities and help locate a missing person quickly – especially useful should your parent be suffering from dementia.
Take the time to explain how each choice can allow your parents to stay safe and sound at home, ultimately supporting their desire to remain at home as they age.