Adult children or family members who care for elderly parents or loved ones may be concerned about the ability of their loved ones to remain independent in their own home as they age. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) about 90 percent of seniors prefer to stay in their own homes throughout the aging process.
Aging loved ones may be used to handling household duties themselves or sharing duties with a spouse. Transitioning to depending on family and friends for assistance may be a difficult adjustment. Independent living aids and assistive technology devices can help your loved one have the home freedom that they desire.
One third of people over the age of 50 surveyed by the AARP said they use assistive technology devices throughout their day-to-day lives. Independent living aids and assistive devices can range from helpful everyday items such as canes and pill organizers to more high tech pieces such as temperature activated water flow reducers or motorized wheelchairs. Simple or technologically advanced, these devices can be great independence utilities for your aging loved one.
Here is some information on how you can help your loved ones age as gracefully and independently as possible in the comfort of their own home:
- Socialization: Keeping in contact with your loved one and keeping them connected with their outside community is key.
- Make communication easier by providing your loved one with a home or cell phone with a headset, speakerphone or large buttons or consider purchasing a hearing impaired device.
- Connect your loved one with support networks such as friends, family, colleagues, neighbors and church members for socialization. Check with a health professional for information on local elder resources such as senior centers, agencies on aging and senior day care programs.
- Let help come to your loved one: In-home care services like Holy Redeemer Support at Home offer daily or occasional care, meal planning, medication management, light housekeeping, errands and local transportation, plus much more. You may also want to consider hiring a handyman, financial manager, or yard care services to help ease the work load on you and your loved on.
- Keep it simple: Independent living aids are especially created for aging adults and can help them navigate the activities of daily life such as eating and personal hygiene practices.
- Aids or modifications to consider for the bathroom and kitchen: Tub mats, shower seats, toilet risers or raised toilets, night lights, clearly marked hot and cold water faucets, pumps for soaps and shampoo, easy grip and specialized utensils, jar openers and reaching tools.
- Aids to consider for the bedroom: Personal care products such as button hooks and zipper pulls, magnifiers, Velcro, dressing sticks, non-tie shoelaces, bedside organizers, large numeral clocks and night lights.
- Prevention: To prevent scalding, temperature activated flow reducers automatically shut down a bath or sink water faucet if it becomes too hot. Similarly, cover plates for stovetop burners that limit temperature can shut off the stove if it exceeds safe temperatures.
- Helpful alerts and reminders: When a loved one has trouble remembering when to take medicines, consider using a daily pill organizer or automatic medication reminder. If your loved one has deteriorating hearing, a mobile doorbell signal with a flashing light can help notify your loved one about the arrival of visitors.
- In case of emergency: Personal emergency response systems alert monitor centers that have the ability to contact you or 911 if your loved one is in danger. The devices can be worn discreetly as a bracelet, pendant or on a belt. In addition, medical identification bracelets are helpful in case of emergency or if a loved one becomes lost or disoriented due to conditions such as dementia.
- Getting Around: Assistive transportation devices such as walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, lifts and wheelchair and entrance ramps are helpful tools to prevent falls inside and outside the home. Before purchasing, check with a medical provider to see if medical equipment prescribed by a doctor such a cane or walker is eligible to be covered by personal health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or organizations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, senior transportation services, buses and taxis are helpful tools for an aging loved one who is en route to grocery trips and medical appointments.
To learn more about Holy Redeemer Support at Home, call 215-698-3719 for a FREE phone consultation.