It is hard to watch an elderly relative mentally or physically decline. Your instinct will more than likely be to do everything in your power to help an aging parent, grandparent or another relative. Yet, one of the best ways to improve their quality of life is to help them maintain as much independence as possible. Find out how to help an elderly loved one age independently.
An elderly loved one’s home should be their safe haven. It is, therefore, your responsibility to identify and eliminate hazards that could result in an accident or injury. Put yourself in your relative’s shoes to recognize their daily needs so that you can spot potential hazards in their living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, or hallway.
For example, remove rugs to prevent trip hazards, install bathroom rails to provide support when walking through the home, and lower shelves within the kitchen for ease of reach. Does your loved one need to spend much time in bed? If so, Integrant LLC offers an overbed table system that features a supportive table that fits easily across the bed, as well as ample storage, LED lighting and integrated electrical outlets. Your relative will, therefore, not have to leave their bed unless necessary.
Personal Emergency Response Systems
It’s natural to be concerned about an elderly relative who is left home alone. Personal emergency response systems (PERS) can be the ideal solution, as your loved one simply needs to press a button to call the emergency services, if required, which is ideal if they suffer a fall or medical event, such as a heart attack or stroke. Various mobile PERS solutions can also feature GPS capability, which makes it easier to locate an elderly person in an emergency.
Learn About Their Healthcare Requirements
Caring for an elderly relative might be a new experience for you, so you might be unsure how to provide effective healthcare. It is, therefore, important to stay in contact with their doctor, nurse and/or pharmacist, so you can maintain your loved one’s good health. For example, you may need to provide an elderly relative with their daily medicine, or you might need to check their blood sugar levels.
You’ll also need to stay on top of their medical appointments, and you must have an in-depth understanding of their medical needs to provide the best possible level of healthcare, which will allow your parent or grandparent to remain at home and retain some independence.
Some older adults may have medical conditions that lead to incontinence. If your family member has that, talk to them about using incontinence protection. This is a sensitive topic for many people, so be understanding, patient, and kind.
Encourage your loved one to face the problem head-on, and use respectful words to refer to any incontinence products. Skirting around the issue will not help, but being insensitive will embarrass your loved one and alienate them. Try to see yourself in their shoes and uphold your family member’s dignity.
You might be so preoccupied with cooking, cleaning, making medical appointments and arranging prescriptions that you might forget to simply sit down and talk to your loved one. Loneliness can lead to serious health consequences for elderly people, which is why you should set time aside to talk to an aging parent, grandparent or another relative.
They might simply want to be listened to, and they will find comfort in your words of encouragement. You could even provide your senior relatives with a smartphone, so you can enjoy a video chat together when you cannot be there in person, so they will regularly see another person’s face. It can have a positive impact on their emotional wellbeing, which can be just as important as their physical and mental health.