As your senior parents age, it’s natural to worry about their health and their ability to continue caring for themselves. Whether they’re facing serious health concerns like degenerative diseases or recovery following illness or injury, or they’re simply slowing down, you want to make sure that they’re safe and well-cared for.
Unfortunately, with a job, a family, and a household of your own to manage, you simply may not have the time or energy to provide the level of help your parents need. And yet, you don’t want to take them from their beloved home and place them in assisted living or a nursing home. What can you do?
If you’re wondering how to help aging parents stay in their home, you’ll be happy to hear that there are steps you can take to keep them in their own home as long as possible, even if they suffer from serious health conditions. Here are a few tips to get started.
Talk to Your Parents about Their Needs
This is never an easy conversation, but it is an important one. Your parents have traditionally been your caregiver, so turning the tables can make everyone a little uncomfortable. But you’re all adults, and the best way to approach the issue is by telling your parents that you care about their health and safety, and that you want to understand their needs and their wishes before you end up in a situation where you may be forced to make decisions on their behalf.
It’s also a good idea to speak with your parents’ doctors if they’re dealing with significant health problems that require ongoing care. It’s critical that you understand the level of care needed so that you can make sure they receive proper care, whether you and other family members provide it or you hire outside help.
Reduce Health and Safety Risks in the Home
Whether elderly loved ones are dealing with physical or mental decline (or both), the home environment could pose a number of health and safety risks. Slip and fall accidents are particularly common, so you need to think about adding handrails and non-slip surfaces, especially on stairs or in areas like bathrooms where senior have to get up and down and step over the tub threshold. In some cases, shower stalls or walk-in tubs may be necessary.
You also need to reduce or remove clutter that could be a tripping hazard, and you should ensure bright lighting throughout the home. Accidental poisoning is also a common concern, so you need to make sure the home is equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. It’s also a good idea to limit the number of hazardous materials in the home to only the necessities (like cleaning products).
Go through cupboards to ensure proper labeling of medications and hazardous materials, and ask doctors about options like blister packs for medication that help to avoid mix-ups. If need be, you can always get pill boxes for your parents that allow you to break down medications by day, or even several times during the day, so they don’t miss doses or accidentally double up on needed prescriptions.
Utilize Home Health Technologies
One of the many benefits of connected technologies is that they can notify you in the event of emergency situations. Wearable emergency call devices and GPS watches could be helpful, especially for seniors that are physically frail.
You can also install smart home technologies like security systems that offer remote monitoring of streaming video, as well as motion sensor alerts. Some are even smart enough to learn household habits and alert you to changes. If your parents don’t yet need round-the-clock care, but you worry about them when they’re alone in the home, these devices could provide early warning and peace of mind.
Many adult children simply cannot care for an elderly loved one alone, especially if healthcare needs are high. While you may be able to get some help from family members, at some point it pays to consider the benefits of home health care services that offer the level of care your senior parents need.
There are several levels of home care available for seniors, from basics like cooking, cleaning, and transportation, to more intensive care for medical recovery or degenerative conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Your parents may need help with personal care (bathing, dressing, etc.), and a parent that lives alone might be in need of companionship. Home health care services can address specific needs or deliver a variety of services, depending on your particular situation.
With the right help, you don’t need to stress over how to help aging parents stay in their home. You can ensure the level of care they need in the home setting, allowing them the opportunity to continue growing old in a familiar and beloved home environment.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.