It’s difficult to witness the deterioration of physical or mental abilities in an aging parent, grandparent or other loved one. Whether or not we’re well-equipped or prepared, the reality remains that many of us will be tasked with making impactful decisions associated with caring for an elderly loved one.
Here are 3 things to remember to keep your loved one independent and at home:
1. Preparing the Home
Caregivers often ask me how they can properly prepare a home for aging parents, since the home in which they reside should be a safe haven. I often recommend that they first take a moment to put themselves in their loved one’s shoes and recognize when and where common needs or hazards may arise in key areas like the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Some common and basic changes include: Installing bathroom rails to help support them when they walk through the house and avoid unexpected slips and falls, lowering shelves in the pantry so they can easily access items, adding more lighting and removing floor hazards. These changes around the home are basic and simple to do, and can provide caregivers with an added measure of confidence in having a loved one live at home or alone.
We should also consider how technology can play a major role in creating a safe environment for the elderly. The latest home security systems can provide caregivers with a real-time overview of their loved one’s home. By simply using a tablet or smartphone, you can instantly review video footage of key areas in near real-time, and remotely control lights, locks and thermostats.
2. Ensuring Health Care Measures
Many hospital discharge regimens require the daily task of taking medicines or checking blood sugar levels, which may seem inconsequential when there’s no one there to remind you, but healthy seniors must focus on the maintenance for their good health in order to extend their time living at home as much as possible. Stay in contact with the doctor, pharmacist and/or nurse of an elderly loved one. You can provide extra support in encouraging them to be proactive in the maintenance of their health.
It is very important to understand their medical needs, including how frequently doctors’ appointments should occur, and how to implement a low-intensity exercise regimen. Using health tools like “smart” pill bottles can help alleviate some of the tasks on your end, since they remind patients to take their medicine, or you can use a calendar app to track and anticipate upcoming doctors’ appointments. Ultimately, it’s important to remain sensitive to changes in their health and to monitor their health when living independently.
3. In Case of an Emergency
Caregivers are often concerned when their elderly loved ones are home alone, especially since one out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year. This can become a major crisis if no one is present to help assist when they fall.
When falls and acute medical events (such as heart attacks or strokes) occur, each second that passes matters. Personal emergency response systems, which allow users to easily and quickly call for help in an emergency by pushing a button, can help provide caregivers with peace-of-mind should a loved one suffer a mishap. Also, mobile Personal emergency response systems solutions can take that one step further to strike the perfect balance between care and freedom. They include things like GPS capability, which could help locate an elderly parent in the event of an accident, automatic fall detection and two-way phone communication, giving new meaning to elderly independence for the healthy aging population as well as those living with chronic conditions.
To Contact Us
To contact us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center please call (561) 588-4545. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!