The U.S Census has determined that there will be 70 million American seniors living in the USA by the year 2030.
Getting older is inevitable. Understandably, it is hard to see your loved one’s age, because growing up you thought your parents were invincible, but the golden years can be a tough transition. Many find that activities they used to do with ease become a little more complicated, activities like standing, walking, and even remembering when you last ate. So, here are five tips to help seniors stay as independent as possible.
1. Make proper safety precautions to the home.
We are used to having the freedom to do whatever we like in our homes, and it creates a sense of independence and security. Make the necessary changes to support and encourage what may be a new lifestyle.
Basic modifications that you can (and should) make:
- Improve or change the lighting in darker places of the home
- Install rails in the bathroom
- Install automatic outdoor lights
- Install a security system for emergencies (i.e., Life Alert, Ring, Medical bracelets, etc.)
- Eliminate fall risk situations like steps or lowering frequently used items to lower cabinets
- Securing floor spaces by fixing lifted carpets, adding adhesives under floor mats/rugs, clearing hallways from cords or clutter.
- Wheelchair ramps (if mobility is limited)
If you are worried about the cost of modifications, check with your financial advisors to see if there are any tax incentives or programs to help with expenses.
2. Medication Management
The most common cause of decreased independence is the poor management of medications. Many independent seniors accomplish this task easily, but a loss of memory tends to accompany aging and so remembering what pills to take and when to take them can be a challenge.
list of ideas to help:
- Use a pillbox and prefill medications for them weekly
- Create a medical step by step plan
- Set reminders on their phone to help remind them to take medication, check their blood pressure, blood sugar, or to attend a doctor’s appointment
- Fill out a calendar and place it where it is visible
- Hire extra help to check in with them as often as needed
3. Meeting Emotional Needs
Tending to our loved one’s safety can become our initial focus, but we must not forget about their emotional needs as well. Studies have shown that seniors benefit from being productive and engaged in social activities.
To support their emotional needs, you can:
- Encourage them to join communities or senior centers with similar interests
- Help them join classes geared towards seniors like art or aerobics (many include pick up and drop off)
- Encourage them to pick up a new hobby or interest
- Do volunteer work together
- Make regular plans to visit
4. Have Essentials delivered
Transportation can be difficult with age, and a healthy lifestyle is vital in helping seniors keep their independence and live at home longer. Having essential needs such as groceries, medicine refills, or other basic needs delivered can be a big help. Consider showing them how they can shop for their needs online or maybe go a step further and set up auto-ship for peace of mind.
If you still feel uneasy with the idea of a loved one living at home alone, then hiring extra help a few times a week might be the answer. A caregiver supports where needed and can be that extra helping hand and support that would otherwise be a scary situation if your senior takes a fall or is injured when they are on their own.
Taking on a caregiver will not only help your loved one, but it can also help you maintain your relationship. Sometimes the health care needs for a loved one can be consuming and eventually take a toll on you and sometimes your loved one. Most people find that when they hire a caregiver, they are able to focus more on making memorable visits, and your senior doesn’t feel like a burden
Here are a few things caregivers can (but are not limited to) help with:
- Managing medication under the direction of a nurse
- Encourage physical activities and exercises
- Cook according to meal plan or diet
- Driving to and from a doctor’s appointment or leisure activities
- Dressing and grooming
Above all, we hope these five tips to helping seniors live at home longer have been useful, and we encourage you to try them all. If you have any questions or would like more details about anything you can call us for a free consultation.