Ways To Help Elderly Loved Ones Live Independently
The safety and well-being of older loved ones is of vital concern within today’s society. We all want to protect them as much as possible but, at the same time, we are often managing our own families & livelihoods. This can be a struggle.
With today’s nursing home costs continuing to increase, modern technology is striving to make it easier to provide families peace of mind in helping their loved one’s age independently.
Below, we will take you through 4 ways to help your loved ones live independently:
Understanding their physical needs
Understanding their emotional needs
Making their home comfortable
1. Understanding Their Physical Needs
Maintaining a high quality of life and living independently is important. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time and for others, it can mean a great deal more. This can become daunting for families who may have the best intentions of caring for their elderly loved ones but may not have the time to provide the care they need and deserve.
While the thought of giving up their independence is often unpleasant for seniors, it may be the right thing to do. Here are some things to look for that indicate your parent can no longer live independently. Your parent may want to preserve his or her independence, but certain medical or psychological circumstances could prevent this.
Signs your loved one may need support:
Impaired Vision Issues with peripheral vision, partial blindness, and diseases such as glaucoma
Incontinence This can mean if your loved one has frequent accidents involving urine and stool.
Limited Mobility Issues with mobility and or difficulty walking and maintaining his or her balance.
Cognitive Decline Issues with memory, language, thinking and judgment.
“In 2015, nearly 65,000 people aged 60+ in the UK had a hip fracture (the most common injury for older people who have suffered a fall), with about 7% of these people dying within 30 days, and one third after 12 months. In fact, 13 people died from having a fall every day in 2016.”
2. Understanding Their Emotional Needs
A study by the University of California, San Francisco found that loneliness increases the risk of an untimely death by 45% among the elderly.
Regardless whether or not our loved ones are confident they can live an independent life, it is vital to ensure deep sincere connections are made. It’s about finding ways to help nourish their sense of belonging and purpose.
Even the most independent can fall victim to loneliness and the solitude that comes from living alone. Below are some tips to ensure your loved one’s emotional well being is met and sustained.
Set aside time every week to spend time with your loved one. If distance is an issue, ensure you call for regular chats. Online tools like Skype can be greatly beneficial to their emotional well-being.
Encourage them to participate in hobbies and activities that they enjoy by organising for your loved one to attend local events and join local communities in their area..
Meaningful emotional contact is essential and giving them the ability to instantly contact their loved ones whenever they need them breaks down the feeling of loneliness and isolation
3. Making Their Home Comfortable
Today, people are living longer and remaining in their homes, without much to prolong their well-being. A study by Public Health England in 2016 noted that men can now expect to live for an additional 19 years at age 65 and 12 years at 75. Women can expect to live for an additional 21 years at age 65 and 13 years at 75.
Another study suggests that most falls in the home can be prevented with some fairly easy changes to the home, allowing your loved ones to safely maintain their independence. The best approach is to ask them what they think they need, however sometimes they may want to refrain from making changes if they don’t feel they need the help. In this instance, you need put yourself in their position and think about effective ways you can make their daily life easier.
Easy steps to improving your loved one’s home:
Consider adding more lighting to areas like the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom
Install hand railings and non-slip bath & shower mats to prevent falls
Ensure accessible chairs and bedding depending on your loved one’s physical abilities
Consider introducing them to internet to make home deliveries such as food shopping
Ensure hallways and stairs are kept free of clutter
Ensure they have adequate footwear with good grip on the sole
Another vital step to ensuring their well-being at home is to also ensure your loved ones have an active social life outside of their home.