Helping an elderly loved one live independently in their own home can be challenging, but it’s well worth the effort. Because most senior citizens want to stay in their own homes rather than go into a nursing home or assisted living facility, you must do whatever you can to make that happen. About 90 percent of seniors say they want to stay in their own homes, and research shows that living at home can significantly improve their quality of life.
You can do a few things to help your elderly loved one live independently. Here are some tips.
1. Encourage your loved one to stay active.
Old age doesn’t mean your loved one has to give up on their hobbies or interests. Staying active can help seniors stay healthy and independent. If your loved one isn’t active, encourage them to take up a new hobby or join a social club. You can also help them stay active by taking them on walks or to the gym.
If they are active, ensure they have the proper equipment and clothing to stay safe. For example, if they enjoy hiking, ensure they have a good pair of hiking boots. You can also get them a medical alert bracelet if they fall and can’t reach a phone. Some activity trackers also have fall detection features that alert you if your loved one falls.
2. Keep their home safe.
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four seniors falls annually. To help prevent falls, make sure their home is safe.
One of the most important things you can do is to install grab bars in their bathroom. Slippery floors are also a leading cause of falls, so make sure their floors are clean and dry. You can also install non-slip carpets or rugs to help prevent slips and falls.
The kitchen is another dangerous place for seniors. To help prevent kitchen accidents, consider custom cabinet remodeling. This will make reaching items easier and prevent them from climbing on chairs or step stools. You can build in spice racks, pull-out drawers, and lazy susans to make their life easier.
Stairs are also dangerous for seniors. If they have stairs in their home, make sure they have a handrail on both sides of the stairs. You can also install a stairlift to help them get up and down the stairs safely.
3. Help them with their finances.
Many seniors have trouble managing their finances. This can be due to cognitive decline or simply because they don’t have someone to help them keep track of their bills. You can help your loved one by setting up a budget for them and helping them pay their bills.
You can also help them by getting rid of unnecessary expenses. For example, if they have a landline phone, you can cancel it and get them a mobile phone instead. You can also help them save money on groceries by getting them a senior discount card. Some stores also offer free delivery for seniors.
Some utility companies also offer discounts for seniors. You can check with your loved one’s utility company to see if they offer any discounts. Ask about other money-saving ways, such as energy-efficient appliances or weatherization programs.
4. Help with chores and transportation.
As your loved one ages, they may have trouble doing everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping. You can help by doing these tasks for them or hiring someone to do them. You can also help with transportation by taking them to doctor’s appointments or running errands for them.
But even when helping your loved one, it’s essential to let them do as much as possible. This will help them stay independent and active. Allow them to do as much as possible and only help when necessary or when they ask for your help. You can also help them by getting them a service animal or a mobility scooter.
5. Be there for them emotionally.
Of course, one of the most important things you can do for your loved one is to be there for them emotionally. As they age, they may feel lonely or isolated. About 43 percent of seniors say they feel lonely, according to a study by the AARP. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
You can help your loved one by spending time with them and engaging in activities they enjoy. You can also help them stay connected to their friends and family by setting up video calls or sending letters and cards. It’s also important to listen to your loved one. They may want to talk about their fears or concerns. Just listening can be a huge help.
As your loved one ages, they may need more help from you. But by helping them with daily tasks, transportation, and their finances, you can help them live independently in their own home. Always be there for them emotionally and let them know you’re available to help whenever they need it. With your help, they can age gracefully and enjoy their golden years.