Ask any elderly person where they want to live when they cannot care for themselves and the majority will say at home. Staying fit and healthy for as long as possible in order to avoid having to depend on help by others is what all the elderly wish for. However unless there is adequate elderly care, many of our elderly end up spending their life’s savings on paying for care in a home.
There is nothing more frustrating that to watch your parents deteriorate and struggle to keep up their hygiene and look after themselves. In an ideal world the majority of us would like to give up our jobs and help our aging parents, but sadly this is rarely possible.
Some of the problems the elderly face as they get older includes failing heath, fears of falling, neglect, isolation, abuse, boredom and lack of preparedness for old age. If you find yourself in a position where you want to help your parents be more independent there are things that can be done to help keep the elderly at home for longer.
One of the major problems the elderly have is to do with balance. Balance problems are among the most common reasons that older adults seek help from a doctor. Good balance is important to help you get around, stay independent, and carry out daily activities. Quite often the elderly feel dizzy or unsteady as if their surroundings were in motion making simple tasks like walking, getting up for a chair and bending over very difficult.
Poor balance can lead to simple slips and falls which result in more serious issues such as hip fractures. Hip fractures can have a serious impact on an older person’s life and make it impossible to live independently. Because of which it is important to make the persons home much more ‘elderly friendly’ so slips and trips are less likely.
The most common falls the elderly experience is from have inadequate bathrooms. Stepping over a bath and then out again is very problematic for the elder. Slipping on wet floors or struggling to get up from the toilet are other problems which can easily be fixed. A walk in shower, wet room or walk in bath would be the ideal option. If the elderly cannot afford a complete bathroom refurbishment there are plenty of cheaper options such strategically grab rails above the bath and by the toilet. If there is already a shower in the bathroom, adding a seat and grab rails would be beneficial.
It is not just the bathroom which can cause slips and falls. Rugs and clutter around the home can be hazardous. Take a look around the home and clear out unnecessary items and rugs to make the pathways safe. It might mean re arrange furniture in rooms to ensure all the walk ways are easily accessible.
Shopping for food and other items might be a problem, as might be the actual cooking. Many grocery shops offer delivery services and there are plenty of ‘meals on wheels’ services about these days. Checking with your local council about services for the elderly will give you a good idea of what help is available.
Security is another issue facing the elderly. They are worried that if they do slip or fall that nobody will come to help them. These days there are plenty of emergency response systems such as alarm buttons which can be worn around the neck. If they get into difficultly they just press the button and it sends a signal to an emergency response centre, who then in turn contacts family friends or emergency services if required.
The best thing to do if you want to help an older person with his or her independence is to ask them outright. Sit them down and ask them what they are struggling with and what they need help with. But do push them a little as many elderly people are proud and probably embarrassed to admit they are struggling.
Elderly people deserve to live in their homes for as long as possible. Many people have lived in the same home for 20 or 30 years and put a lot of energy into making it what it is today. It is little wonder they don’t want to move into a home and have carers having to do everything for them. Sadly this might be the only option for the very old and frail, but if we can help keep our parents living at home independently for as long as possible, we can live guilt free knowing we did everything we could for them.