If you have a parent or grandparent who is getting older and is not as mobile as they once were, you may be wondering what you can do to make their lives easier. When helping your family member adjust their life, consider their needs. Determine how capable they are of doing usual activities, and see if there is an area they need extra assistance with. You might be met with some resistance at first, so be prepared. Don't let your family member's fear of change keep you from making their life more manageable. They may thank you in the end and it could save their life.
Review Their Housekeeping Needs
Your family member may have a hard time doing certain household chores. They may be able to do certain tasks either by themselves or with some assistance, but find strenuous housecleaning difficult. This includes chores like vacuuming, mopping, and picking things up off the floor. If they are having trouble maintaining their home, consider coming over once a week, or hiring a housekeeper to assist them with cleaning. You can choose to help them have an entire cleaning, or just focus on things that are difficult for them to do on their own. Allowing them to continue some chores can give them a sense of independence, and keep their mind active, especially if they are housebound.
Plan Activities to Help Them Enjoy Life
Although your parent or grandparent cannot do everything they were once able to, they likely look forward to getting out and socializing. There are many different things you can do to help their minds stay active and help them enjoy life.
Looking for socialization activities through your local parks and recreation department
Buying them books of word search and crossword puzzles to do in their free time
Planning a weekly dinner or outing to a store, park, or other place of interest
Taking them to visit friends or come by to visit more often
If your family member cannot get out as often as they would like, or doesn't feel confident enough to pursue entertainment on their own, try to encourage them to get out and have fun. If they are still able to drive and get out with friends, have them do so. You can let them know what is going on in the community that they would enjoy doing, too.
Have an Emergency System in Place
If your family member falls and they live alone, ensuring they are getting the help they need can be worrisome. Knowing When to Consider a Medical Alert System is important, since it can save their life. There are a variety of systems on the market that can meet the unique needs of your loved one. Some systems clip on to their clothing, while others can be worn around the neck or wrist. As with most medical alert device, a push of the button allows the senior to call for help if they have fallen or injured themselves, but cannot get to a phone. If you live far away, or worry about your loved one being unsteady on their feet, consider having an alert device to give you both peace of mind should an emergency occur.
Offer to Take Them to Medical Appointments
If possible, try to be active in your senior's life either by taking them to medical appointments, or taking a more active role in their care. Individuals who are at risk for dementia might need extra help. Sometimes they might not remember to tell you important details that their doctor informed them of. Other times, they will resist a family member coming in to give guidance and care, and view it as interfering with their lives. Gaining a better idea of what their medical needs are, changes that are occurring to their body, and tests or treatments your senior needs is important, particularly if they do not willingly divulge these details.
Helping Your Family Member Adjust Is Important
Changes are hard no matter what stage of life we are at. Helping your senior family member makes changes in their routines, and get the support they need is crucial if they wish to keep living on their own. Helping them through housekeeping, installing an emergency system, and keeping their minds and bodies active will ensure that they have a full life, complete with a fail-safe plan. You and your loved one can feel confident they are enjoying their life to the fullest, with all the support they need to live independently.