Lots of older adults want to stay in the comfort of their home or with family for as long as possible; that’s why we’ve created this guide to senior care at home. Whether you’re responsible for checking up on an elderly family member who’s living alone, or you’ve opened your home to them, it can be an overwhelming and confusing time. Luckily, with a little preparation and organization, you can help elderly loved ones stay independent or with you for a longer period of time. If you’re taking on the responsibility of senior care at home, you need to consider a few factors.
Falls can be serious for seniors, and are often one of the reasons why older adults choose to move out of their own homes. A tidy and clean home will go a long towards preventing falls in seniors. Move piles of books, newspapers, or clothes out of the hallway, and plug in night lights in the hallway, in the bathroom, and in their room. You may also find that your elderly loved one needs a cane, walker, or transport chair. Finally, install grab bars and elevated toilet seats in your bathroom for increased bath safety. After all, a slippery bathroom is a likely place to falls; however, with a few minor adjustments, your loved one will be much safer!
Keep medications organized
As memories start to fade, it’s more important to make sure important things like medications are organized and in an easy-to-find place. Senior care at home depends on creating a stable and familiar environment, so try a centrally located medicine center in the bathroom or kitchen that can hold all of their medications, along with compartments for days and times.
Stock up on simple medical equipment
Not every test requires a trip to the doctor’s office with easy, at-home medical products. Having your own blood pressure monitor makes it easy to take a loved one’s blood pressure at low-stress times. Even something as simple as a humidifier can make air easier to breath for dry throats or sinuses. Other medical equipment may depend on the needs of your loved ones; determine early if they’ll need incontinence products, hearing aids, or products that ease arthritis pain.
Check up on loved ones who live alone
If you’re checking up on a loved one who is living alone, make sure to scan their home for a couple of essential things. Take a look in their kitchen and pantry: does she have enough food, including healthy fruits and vegetables? Can he cook for himself? Can she operate a microwave? Is there any expired or rotten food in the refrigerator? It’s also important to note their mental health and well-being: check that she can hold a coherent conversation, remember your name, and ask about any recent episodes of confusion (for example, losing her car in the parking lot). Finally, make sure he is visiting the doctor regularly, taking his medications (by checking the number of pills left in the bottles), and clearly communicating any changes in appetite, vision, or pain to his doctors. As loved ones get older, they may become less able to take care of the simple things; with your help, they can continue living independently for a longer period of time!
Take care of yourself
Senior care at home can be a source of stress and worry in your life. It’s important not to ignore your own needs or happiness! Treat yourself with a spa day or just a day getting your nails done. Carve out at least an hour every day to read your favorite book, watch a television show, or take a nap. Spend time with family and friends to de-stress, and don’t be afraid to lean on other family and neighbors for help.