Aging in place has many benefits for the elderly.
It gives them a sense of autonomy, which is crucial for their happiness and mental health. It also helps them retain a strong connection to their family and community, another major factor in their overall wellness.
Simple things like taking a bus to do their own shopping, going for a walk every day and interactions with neighbours make all the difference.
There are also the financial benefits. Nursing and retirement homes are too expensive for most families. Staying at home is cheaper even if you have to pay for in-home care.
But aging in place is a challenge, not just for the elderly individual but their family as well.
Here are some tips to make it easier for everyone. Help for the elderly in their own home.
Buy assistive equipment
Assistive tools and equipment are important in helping seniors retain their independence at home for as long as possible.
These tools help with mobility, communication and basic activities like cooking, bathing and cleaning.
For mobility, a wheelchair, good rollator or scooter can help. For cleaning, a lightweight vacuum cleaner or a robotic one is great.
There are many other assistive tools available for getting in and out of bed, watching the TV, getting up from the sofa and staying safe in the bathroom.
Make the house safer and more friendly
In addition to buying the right equipment, it’s essential that you make the house more accessible.
Simple changes that may not seem like much to you can make all the difference for a senior trying to get around the house.
Here are some changes you can start with.
- Install night-lights for easier visibility. If there are stairs, have a light switch both at the bottom and top.
- Get rid of area rugs. They pose a trip hazard. If you have to use a rug or mat in a certain area such as the bathroom or kitchen, make sure it is non-slip.
- Replace handles on faucets with senior-friendly ones that don’t require any turning.
- Install grab bars near the shower, toilet and bathtub.
- Install wheelchair access to the front door and other areas of the house. Also include a handrail leading to the entrance.
- Check that there is no furniture obstructing a pathway. If necessary, change the furniture layout to make it easier for them to move around. You may need to get rid of some furniture to do this.
- Walk around the house looking for any other potential safety hazards such as a loose railing, a door handle that’s difficult to open, a light switch that is too high and so on.
Have a health care strategy
Do you want to hire an in-home care professional or would you rather take care of them yourself?
For seniors who are still relatively healthy, you might be able to take care of them yourself with the help of other family members.
For seniors with deteriorating health, it’s better to hire a full time or part time care professional.
It’s also a good idea to monitor their health ideally using a wearable. Additional emergency measures like a speed dial phone or a fall-detecting sensor are also worth considering.
If they are taking any medication, use an alarm clock or reminder app to make sure they don’t miss a dose.
Plan for transportation
How will they get around for things like shopping, doctor’s appointments and other activities?
Most likely they’ll not be driving themselves. So you have to come up with a reliable transportation plan.
In some locations, it’s easy to take a bus. If the town centre is nearby, consider using a mobility scooter or getting them a walker or rollator for the short walk.
You can also use ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
Or you might find it cheaper to have family members pitch in to provide transport whenever they are available.
Look for a supportive community
Social interaction is essential for the elderly. It reduces loneliness, improves mental health and even increases their lifespan.
You can start by establishing close relations with the neighbours. This is not a problem if they have been living there for years.
Also consider looking for support communities around the area. Many towns have senior community centres where the elderly meet, interact, play games and have fun.
Whatever you do, make sure they have someone they frequently talk to. Even just one friend or two are enough to prevent loneliness.
Their needs will keep evolving and it is important that you keep up with them and address any new concerns.
For instance, they might start having trouble using a walker at which point you should consider getting a power wheelchair or mobility scooter.
Keep an especially close check on their health, including their mental wellness. Determine when its necessary to pay for full time in-home care or when a nursing home is the best option for them.