The elderly are one of the fastest growing populations in our country. With advanced health care, our parents and grandparents are living a long and healthy life. This does bring up the concern about how to help them to be as independent as they can be for as long as possible. There are some things that can be done to ensure our aging parents can stay safely in their homes.
The first thing to do is to talk to them about their wishes. It is a mistake to plan for parents while they are still mentally alert and capable. It would be an insult to their experience and intelligence. Simply sit down and have a sincere talk. Discuss what they really want. Maybe they want to live in an assisted living facility. Perhaps their wish is to stay at home as long as possible.
As our parents age, their ability to get around diminishes. Also, the chance of having falls or accidents increase due to their mobility issues. It is important, with your parents or grandparents assistance, to look around the home for inaccessible areas or dangers. Pathways to other rooms should be open and clear. Throw rugs should be moved, or taped down on corners. If your loved one will allow it, it would be best to get rid of throw rugs in order to prevent possible falls. Bathtubs should be fitted with safety bars and mats on the bottom of the tub for safety. Better yet, sit down tubs can be installed. Items that are hard to reach should be moved to lower shelves. Beds should be low enough to get into safely. None of those high beds that require a stool just to get into them!
A few simple changes in the home can make it more accessible and safer for the elderly.
Many elderly people continue to drive well into their 90’s. Others start to have difficulty. Thinking about transportation for the elderly is important in order to help them stay independent. There are agencies that provide transportation for the elderly . Some rural communities even have these services. Check with your community with agencies such as the Council on Aging to see what is available. Some churches offer transportation services. Getting to and from appointments and grocery stores with ease will increase your parents and grandparents independence.
Many elderly find it difficult to do major house cleaning or repair. If a parent can afford it, there are of course agencies that clean houses. Also,there are private companies that offer non medical elderly care services , such as house cleaning. The other option is to call the Council on Aging. They sometimes offer free home aides who can help with house hold chores. Also, purchasing lighter vacuums and easy to push brooms can lighten the load of cleaning house for the elderly. After all, they would prefer to do the chores themselves.
At Home Medical Services
Most insurances and Medicare cover in home health care. Most doctors now prefer patients to be at home as soon as possible due to hospital infections. If an elderly person needs in home care, make sure their insurance or Medicare covers the service. Sometimes the insurance limits care to certain agencies or companies. If the elderly person has the funds, they can always hire a private nurse to stay with them.
Helping your parents or grandparents to be independent as long as possible helps them to fulfill their desires to remain carefree and to not be a burden. Caring for our elderly is an important part of our society and it is great to know there is help if needed.