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Published On: Fri, May 25th, 2018

How to Help Seniors Stay Independent

There comes a time in our lives when our parents and loved ones reach the age when they require more care, love and attention. As people age, their needs change, and they become vulnerable to an increasing number of risks. Helping a senior stay at home and independent is important for them to maintain their sense of wellbeing and happiness.

It can be difficult to instigate the conversation about your concerns about how well they are managing in their home, but it is vitally important to have it before an emergency arises. Keep empathy and compassion as the focus of the conversation and explain that these adaptions need to be made so they can stay safe and independent for as long as possible.

photo/ StockSnap

Here are key areas that require your attention:

Ease of Use

Make life easier for the senior, especially in the kitchen where there are increased risks of harm – move the things that they regularly use to an easy to reach position:

  • Keep a tray near the kettle that holds the coffee and tea bags and a couple of cups.
  • Move plates and saucepans to units that are at counter height rather than having to bend down or stretch up to locate them.
  • Move the radio to near their armchair so that they don’t need to keep getting up and down to adjust it.

These are just minor adjustments to make that can make a big impact to how your loved one copes at home.

Safety Equipment

There will more than likely be safety equipment already in place within the senior’s home, but it is now your responsibility to test it to make sure that it is working as it should. Check fire and smoke alarms regularly and replace batteries as and when they are needed.

If your parent or loved one has mobility issues, you need to check that they can use the bathroom and toilet with ease. Handrails are easy to fit and will help them to be able to self-care for as long as possible. You can also organize a personal alarm for elderly people – it’s a device that is worn like a necklace or like a watch. It means that emergency services and you can be contacted if the alarm is activated. Visit www.helpline.co.uk for more information.

Assess Routes

As people age, their eyesight and mobility can diminish. Walk around each room and assess how and where the furniture is placed – does it restrict the ability to walk certain routes? Focus your energy on well-used routes – from the bedroom to the bathroom, the hallway, from the lounge to the kitchen.

Accessibility in regularly used rooms needs to be a priority. For example, in the bedroom, you may need to push the bed up against a wall to make more space or remove a rarely used chest of drawers.

Keep an eye out for tripping hazards such as footstalls, rugs and wires. Rugs, including bath mats, have a habit of creasing, so either remove them completely or install grippers to hold them in place. Movement activated lights are a great way to illuminate walkways to avoid the risk of falls.

It can be incredibly stressful when your parents age; you try and juggle your own family and work commitments between making sure that they are okay too. By making modifications to their home and how they currently live, you are giving them the opportunity to safely stay at home independently.

Author: Carol Trehearn

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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