Home is where the heart is, or so the saying goes. When parents are aging, keeping the heart at home requires planning and often innovation!
Today’s seniors fortunately have a variety of options for remaining at home. That may mean moving to a dream location or aging in a beloved home. Regardless of your parents’ choice, there are steps to take to promote comfort and safety throughout the coming years.
Assessing Need and Selecting Options
There are so many factors to consider as you begin to plan for keeping senior parents at home. If you live at a distance, this will be factored into planning. Assessing what your parent needs now and in the near future includes anticipating health changes, or overall decline. The following safe living topics will help you to focus your planning. Ideas for next steps are included with each topic.
Daily Routines and Personal Safety
- Personal safety is a top concern as we age. Even a healthy person can take a misstep that results in injury at home or when out and about.
- Always have a charged cell phone at hand.
- Look into medic alert or personal alert devices.
- Daily routines including safety with medications. This category includes assuring that medications are taken when needed. This step may also involve checking blood sugar or oxygen flow rates.
- Reminder calls, even several times per day reinforce routines and provide safety checks.
- There are care services that can assist with reminders.
- Personal care, healthy nutrition, and being active are everyday needs that maintain health and slow aging’s effects. Even those who are not living alone may need reminders and help in this area!
- Companion and personal care services are available in many communities; the care is tailored for your parent’s needs.
- Meals on Wheels service is available for those who qualify, assuring that your parent receives regular meals. (There are waiting lists so plan accordingly!)
Home Safety and Getting Around
- Home and neighborhood safety. Senior organizations have checklists to assess home safety details and there are many to consider! You will be able to get objective information about neighborhood safety from community groups and local law enforcement.
- Home safety is a major area to review and renovations can be costly. Your family will want to plan carefully to assure that needed changes are in place.
- Neighborhood safety as well as home safety may require installation of a home monitoring system that includes an alert for unsafe temperatures as well as intrusion.
- At all times be sure you are getting what your family is paying for!
- Transportation is needed to get groceries, keep appointments, visit friends, and maintain community connections. If your parent no longer drives, or does so on a limited basis, this is added to your list.
- Companion services can help out!
- If the community has taxi services, learn which are most trusted.
- Do local markets or grocery stores make home food deliveries?
- Speaking of appointments, visiting the hairdresser or barber can mean as much to your mom or dad as going to the doctor! Having this information aids in coordinating these trips too.
- Is there a friend or family member who wants to lend a hand with this care?
- Call services can help with managing appointments.
- Financial assistance can be a delicate topic as you learn that your mom or dad’s mental sharpness for keeping up with bills is slipping. This may another area to add to your list.
- Local organizations such as the Area Agency on Aging or United Way may have financial services such as completing taxes.
- Your parent’s bank will help with locating trustworthy bookkeeping services.
Each step you take toward planning, and discussing these with your parents and family, helps to assure that your mom and dad can live where they want in comfort and safety.
Cranberry Home Care professionals are here to consult with you about effective ways to keep your senior parents safe, comfortable and at home. We offer tips for families, including how to select quality products, avoid scams, and learn more about community services. We are happy to meet with you and share all we have learned caring for local seniors!
- AARP. (2014). Livable communities: Is your home ‘HomeFit’? Retrieved from: https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/info-2014/is-your-home-livable.html
- Goyer, A.; AARP. (2017). How to choose a medical alert system. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2017/medic-alert-systems-options.html
- Meals on Wheels. Available at: https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/
- National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). (n.d.) Home improvement scams: Tools to reduce your risk. Retrieved from https://www.n4a.org/Files/N4a-HI-Scams-brochure-access.pdf