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Being able to stay in their own home is important to many seniors as they age. In fact, a recent survey has shown that 61% of seniors now prefer to live in their current home, even it if it means living alone. But this goal can get harder to accomplish as they get older and lose the ability to perform certain tasks or if they develop certain health conditions. That doesn’t mean they necessarily have to move in with family or to a retirement home. It just means they need a little extra help, which you or other family members can provide in the following ways. Here you’ll find 5 tips you can take to support your loved one aging in place.
1) Help Seniors Around the House
Many seniors aging in place eventually lose the ability to daily chores around the house like cooking or cleaning, so they might need some dependable assistance on a routine basis. If you live nearby and have a little time to spare, you can stop by regularly to straighten out their house and perform tasks like taking out the trash and doing the dishes and laundry. Hiring a housekeeper to tidy up weekly basis or enlisting a Papa Pal to assist with some basic chores around the house are great alternatives if you cannot help out. The Lotsa Helping Hands calendar is a free tool you can use to help you organize daily needs and chores amongst family, friends, and professional help.
Dropping off precooked meals that will last a few days is also a way to ensure your loved one is getting essential nutrition. This is especially important for seniors who may have a harder time preparing meals as they age. If you are unable to prepare or drop off these meals yourself, pre-made meal delivery services such as Eat Purely, Magic Kitchen, Silver Cuisine, and Top Chef Meals are great options that can accommodate specific health needs and diets.
Outside of passive sensors, there are wearable sensors that can track everything from steps, sleep, heart rates, and blood pressure for specific chronic conditions. Check out this article for a list of the top wearable technologies for older adults and how they compare for your loved one’s needs.
2) Deliver Groceries and Other Necessities for Seniors
Your elderly loved one may need help keeping the essentials in stock. That includes everything from food and drinks to toilet paper, light bulbs, and keeping important medications in stock. If you don’t have time to take your family member shopping once a week, a Papa Pal can take your loved one to the grocery store, hardware store, pharmacy, and other retail locations for household needs. You can also have friend and family volunteer for weekly grocery runs using Lotsa Helping Hands. Finally, online delivery has made it easier than ever to get groceries and other essentials delivered right to one’s home. Instacart, Amazon, and Walmart are some of the most popular options for delivery of grocery and home items.
3) Make the House Safer for Seniors
If you want some peace of mind as a loved one ages in place, you should ensure the environment is safe. Falls are the leading cause of injury for older adults, and alterations in the home may be necessary to prevent falls from occurring. This may include installing support rails next to the toilet and shower, and adding non-slip mats near the shower and sinks. Assess the home to remove loose rugs, repair any loose floorboards, and store away electrical and phone cords from walkways.
If needed, other home improvements may include installing toilets, counters, and sinks that are a little higher so your elderly relative doesn’t have to bend very far to use them. Adding extra lighting in bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways can also provide extra safety when walking at night.
4) Provide Social Opportunities for Seniors and Caregivers
Staying social is an important part of aging in place since seniors can easily get depressed when they have no contact with the outside world. Your loved one would likely appreciate you and other adults visiting often, even just to talk and especially to listen. You can also set up outings, such as to local stores, the mall, movies, and restaurants. But you don’t have to be your relative’s only friend. In fact, it’s important to ensure they make other friends who share similar interests. You can help with this by signing up your relative for a local senior center and making sure they have a ride there on a regular basis. In addition, Papa Pals can provide transportation to social activities, and they also serve as a new friend to talk to when your loved one is feeling lonely.
When in-person events are not possible or safe, virtual social outings and family get-togethers can be organized through free video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype. These tools may be unfamiliar for many older adults, so you may have to spend some extra time setting them up and teaching them how to use the technology.
5) Consider Technology Solutions for Monitoring Health Conditions
Althoughpersonal emergency response systems (PERS) have been around for a while, a new generation of tech tools is making it easier and cheaper for aging adults to get help when they need it, or manage their medical conditions. Here are a few
- Fall detection. Newer PERS devices with accelerometers can detect a fall and call for help automatically based on changes in motion, even if a senior doesn’t push a button. Many of these PERS devices require a subscription and can be used both in the home and out of the home.
- Daily life sensors. A new generation of home sensors can keep track of an older adult’s activity patterns, and can send a signal to family if there’s a significant change from the usual. This can help notify a care circle if an older adult is falling ill. These sensors can be passive sensors around the home that detect changes in behavior in a more unobstrusive way and can track everything from motion, temperature, light and even the frequency of toilet flushes. These sensors are set up to understand one’s normal behavior in the home, and if they detect any abnormalities in one’s daily routine, it will send an alert to the family and care team.