How to help your aging family member retain their independence

June 30, 2018

It’s difficult to see the deterioration of mental or physical abilities in an aging grandparent, parent, or other loved one. When the responsibility for your elderly parents’ comfort and safety is one of your integral roles you can quickly feel overwhelmed- both financially and emotionally.

Whether or not you’re well-equipped or prepared, the reality is that you’ll eventually be making impactful decisions around the care of your loved one.

Here are a few ways you can help your aging family member retain your independence:

Ensure they have their essential needs delivered

Healthy eating is one of the most essential components when it comes to ensuring emotional, physical, and mental well-being. As elderly people age, driving can be challenging, making basic needs like medicine refills and groceries difficult. Getting these delivered can ensure that your parent or grandparent can remain in their home and have everything they need without dealing with the physical stress of walking around and standing in line at the store.


Prepare the home

It can be difficult to know how to properly prepare your home for aging family members, since the place where they’re living should be a safe haven. The first step is to put yourself in your loved one’s shoes and think about where and when the most common hazards or needs may arise in areas like the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and stairs. If things are bad you may want to consult with a care home such as homecare preferred franchise. This will help you have some clarity over your options.  Some basic and common changes include:

  • Installing rails in the bathroom to avoid slips and falls

  • Lowering pantry shelves so items are more accessible

  • Removing floor hazards and adding lighting

  • Widening doorways

  • Installing ramps in place of stairs

It may also be a good idea to see if your family member could get around easier using a mobility scooter. This will ensure that they can leave their home and go get their groceries, run errands, and meet with friends and family members independently.

Be prepared

Falls are common amongst the elderly, and family members are often concerned about their elderly loved ones when they’re alone at home. If no one is present to help in the event of a fall, this can turn into a life-threatening event.

Personal emergency response systems allow loved ones to easily call for help by simply pushing a button. This gives you peace of mind, since you’ll know that your family member is safe even when living alone. Some of these systems have automatic fall detection, GPS capability, and two-way phone communication, which helps ensure independence while keeping your loved one safe and healthy.