Growing older can present many diverse challenges, especially when it involves the possibility of having to leave one’s home for an assisted living facility or a nursing home. As such, it comes as no surprise that approximately 80-90 percent of seniors would prefer to remain at home—even if it means they would have to live alone. This presents challenges for loved ones on how to best help them stay safe and comfortable, without making them feel like a burden. Finding that balance between receiving professional care assistance and independence is best performed by gathering information on what options are currently available.
Most help that can be provided to a senior living alone falls into two categories: that which is provided by a loved one, or by a professional in-home care agency.
Help Loved Ones Can Provide
If you have enough time available in your schedule, and a penchant for saving money whenever possible, there are many tasks which lone seniors need can easily be fulfilled by a nonprofessional. While certain, more serious conditions and volume of needs may require the services of a professional caregiver, the basics are able to be handled by virtually anyone physically able.
Mobility is one of the most noticeable areas of changes in the elderly, as bone brittleness and a decrease in available energy and muscle strength can cause even simple tasks to become a real chore. In the home, changes like moving everything to one level, to avoid the necessity of traveling up and down stairs, is a simple solution that can afford real benefits.
Bathroom and Showers
Another victim of decreased mobility is the capability to perform basic, private functions alone. The bathroom is a prime area for these types of situations, given the private nature of many of its uses. Safety in the bathroom is a very high priority and our blog entry, Home Safety For Seniors, addresses many of these common safety concerns. Installing shower bars and no-slip mats to help avoid slipping and falling, or even a stool to sit on, are easy remedies that still allow many elderly to use the shower without help. Installing the same type of bars around the toilet, such as those you see in public handicapped bathrooms, can go a long way towards keeping vital dignity intact.
Keeping Things Within Reach
Standing on a ladder or chair to reach something set in a high cupboard is a dicey prospect for virtually anyone, even more so for those of advanced age. Take highly accessed foods, items and pretty much anything else out of top cupboards and move them to lower ones to avoid this necessity. If you are handy with home construction work, you can even redo the kitchen to accommodate the new set of needs.
Eyesight and Safety Foresight
Eyesight is also usually a victim to old age in many seniors, so keeping a clean, clutter-free house is paramount. Ensure that clothes or shoes are not around to trip up your elderly loved one and also be sure to make things especially bright and well-lit so they can easily see where they are going. Some furniture colors and schemes can also be more difficult to tell apart, especially if everything is the same color. Remember, even a full revamp of the interior design scheme is preferable to the serious problems that stem from slipping and falling. Our Home Safety Checklist For Seniors can be useful for keeping track of what needs to be done to maximize a senior’s ability to remain safe.
The rise of technology has become a huge boon in terms of capabilities we now have for our aged loved ones, especially those who choose to live by themselves. If you do not have the availability to stay with your loved one all the time and fear what will happen if they do injure themselves, install a security system that includes the capacity to remotely view an area. With the click of your mouse and an internet connection, you can get real-time viewing in any part of the house a camera is installed. These systems can also allow for remote locking of doors and windows and adjusting of the level of light in all of the inside and outside areas.
Emotional and Motivational Assistance
One of the most important, and oft-overlooked aspects of taking care of an older loved one is mental and emotional assistance. If your loved one is unable to drive, making contact with friends may become difficult. Keeping seniors busy is an excellent way to keep them active and motivated, so checking out local senior centers is a good idea. One of the biggest nemesis of advanced age is depression, which can wreak not only untold mental and emotional havoc, it can take a definitive toll on the body itself.
Help From a Professional Caregiver
Professional in-home caregivers can do many of the things that family caregivers also do. In many cases, whether the cause is a lack of time in your own life or a high severity in your loved one’s condition, a professional caregiver may be needed to help out with certain tasks. These usually come in one of two flavors, those that have the training to perform medical procedures and those for supplementing the tasks you perform.
Professional caregivers are usually either a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), GNA (Geriatric Nursing Assistant), who can help with the six activities of daily living and a wide variety of duties. RN (Registered Nurse) or LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) perform task such as taking blood samples, changing catheter tubes and monitoring of medical equipment. Essentially, if it is a procedure too involved for you to perform on your own, the professional caregiver steps in.
Contact Comfort Home Care Today
No matter how much time and energy you may have available, chances are at some point you will need a pair of extra helping hands. Planning in advance for these situations is an effective way for making a senior’s daily activities go as smoothly as possible. If you would like to discuss what options are available and what in-home care services can be used by you or your loved one, please contact Comfort Home Care by giving us a call or sending us a message online today.