10 Ways to Take Care of Your Elderly Parents
As your parents age, one thing you will notice is they might find it more challenging to do everyday tasks – even ones you might consider simple. Another thing you’ll see is how they will become more vulnerable to trips and slips at home and elsewhere.
For those reasons and more, you need to ensure the risk of accidents gets minimized while simultaneously helping to maintain their independence.
The thing is, what steps can you take to ensure the safety and independence of your elderly parents in their home? The following examples illustrate some practical ideas you can consider for their wellbeing:
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
You likely lead an independent life away from your elderly parents. You probably have your own family at home, and much of your time gets divided between them and work.
As you know, it’s impossible to “magic up” some extra free time. If you find it challenging to dedicate time towards looking after your elderly parents, one thing you should never do is feel like you can’t ask for help.
For example, you could ask siblings or other relatives for assistance. Alternatively, your parents could hire an in-home carer to help them with everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, and personal care.
Take a look at Serenityhomehealth.com to learn more about how your elderly parents could get the help they need while taking the pressure off you to provide various daily care needs.
2. Use the Right Technology
Let’s face it: you can’t be with your elderly parents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sure, they might have professionals visiting them each day at various times to help with domestic duties and personal care. But, what about when your parents get left to their own devices?
You may not know it, but you can use technology to help keep an eye on them without being intrusive and without you needing to monitor their every move all the time. For instance, you could use strategically-located motion sensors to ease any worries.
It’s worth looking at solutions like the one offered by Careinnovations.com as they can alert you if any unusual activity (or lack of movement) occurs after certain events like a visit to the bathroom, for example.
3. Carry Out a Risk Assessment
Are there several potential trip or slip hazards at the home of your elderly parents? The thing is, you won’t know the answer to that question without conducting a thorough risk assessment.
Just like you would in the workplace, a home risk assessment is a survey of each room to determine what could cause harm to your parents – especially if they’re unsteady on their feet.
Examples of hazards include loose carpets or floor tiles, exposed electrical sockets or power cords, faulty heating systems, and deep steps that make walking up and down different levels extremely difficult.
4. Carry Out Home Improvements
Your risk assessment will most likely identify several things that require addressing urgently. With that in mind, you should carry out home improvements that resolve those problems and make the home of your elderly parents safer and more convenient for them to use.
Some of those home improvements may not necessarily be things that you need to fix. Instead, they could be practical additions like grab handles in the bathroom or step-free access to the exterior of their abode.
You may need to hire a contractor to take care of specific home improvements. But, if you have the time and feel competent enough to do so, you can carry out the other changes or additions yourself or with help from other family members.
5. Spend Time With Them When You Can
It would help if you spent as much time as possible with your elderly parents. Doing so will undoubtedly cheer them up, especially if they seldom go anywhere for mobility reasons, and it will make you happy spending time with them.
What’s more, when you spend time with your elderly parents, it’s a practical way to gauge the state of their mental and physical health. If you notice either deteriorating, you can take appropriate steps to ensure they get the care they need.
It would also help if you were observant of their surroundings. For example, are they exhibiting any bruises on their bodies that suggest they might have fallen? Do they forget to open their mail or water their plants?
6. Help Them Manage Their Finances
It should come as no surprise that the personal finances of your elderly parents might fall on the wayside. They might forget to review their income and expenses regularly, or they may feel unsure how to manage them properly.
With that in mind, it’s worth offering to help them manage their finances. After all, they need to have enough money to pay for their bills and things like food and medical costs. When you oversee their finances, you can also help them find ways to save money.
For example, you might find they can get better deals on things like their cable TV, Internet, and other essential services.
7. Ensure They Take Their Medication
Do your elderly parents need to take medication each day? If so, it goes without saying they should take them as prescribed by their doctor. If your parents are forgetful, there’s a danger they could miss taking their medicine when required to do so.
If they have carers visiting their home each day, you could ask them to give your parents their medicine during each daily visit. Otherwise, it could make sense to either give them their medication in person or call them at a set time each day to remind them.
There are other ways you can ensure they take their medication. For instance, you could get them a medicine box with compartments labeled for each day and have them check they’ve taken their pills.
8. Offer to Take Them Out
If there’s no reason your elderly parents can’t leave their home sometimes, it’s worth offering to take them out to places. For example, you could take them out on a day trip to their favorite local destinations.
They will enjoy being in your company, plus they won’t need to worry about driving or navigating their way on public transport. You could take them out to a local garden center if they want new plants or their favorite stretch of beach if they live by the coast.
Sometimes, you might not have the time to take them out due to other family or work commitments. In those cases, they could utilize a seniors transportation service in their local area, including ones that work similarly to Uber.
9. Help Them Stay Connected
There’s no denying that today’s digital technology helps people stay in touch over great distances. Your elderly parents will undoubtedly have a telephone at home, but they could make use of a tablet device that allows them video call access.
Today’s tablets are simple to use and easy to learn, and you shouldn’t have any problems teaching your parents how to use one. Soon, they can have video calls with you, your family, and other relatives and friends around the world.
10. Improve Their Home Security
Lastly, it would help if you looked at ways to help your elderly parents improve their home security. One example is to have a Ring video doorbell installed. Using a smartphone, your elderly parents can see who’s at their door and talk to any callers without needing to open the door.
Another idea is to have motion-activated exterior security cameras and lights installed. They can get remotely monitored, and help can get dispatched quickly should any nefarious people attempt to break into your parents’ home.