Tips for Keeping an Elderly Loved One Safe
All over the world there are people caring for a loved one. It might be their mom, dad, grandparent, uncle, aunt, or sibling. One of the most common hazards for the elderly is falling. Falls can lead to serious injuries or even death. There are many reasons why elderly people are at increased risk of falling. It could be impaired or decreased vision, loss of muscle strength and balance.
It’s easy for caregivers to overlook steps they could take to help their loved one. For example, medical alert devices can notify emergency services if a person has fallen and needs assistance.
Caring for an elderly loved one can be extremely rewarding, but it’s not without its challenges. Keep the following tips in mind to help you and your loved one alike.
Visit Them Regularly
Social interaction is critical for the elderly and for you as well because you get reassurance that they’re safe, healthy, and generally doing well.
While you’re visiting you can check around their house for any issues that need addressing. For example, something might need to be fixed or it might need to be cleaned. During your visit you can also check they have enough food, the laundry is being done, plants are being watered, and the mail is being dealt with.
Check On Their Medications
You can make sure that your loved one’s prescriptions are filled and refilled as needed. They might need to take multiple medications, in which cas a pill box organizer labeled with the days of the week might simplify the medication process.
Medical alert devices also offer a medication function. Some services will call your loved one to remind them to take their medication.
Hire Some Help
If you can’t always be there for your loved one, there might be a need for a caretaker, aide, or helper. These are people you can hire to help your loved one with daily activities such as housekeeping, errands, showering, or making meals.
When hiring help for a loved one, check references carefully or go through a licensed agency. Your loved one may qualify for free help. You may have to pay a nominal fee or budget for it as an expense.
If your loved one wants to continue living in their own home you should look around and assess it for safety. A simple fix may be all that’s required or other modification. Things to consider include:
- Wheelchair ramps
- A fall detection watch
- Grab bars and handrails
- Raised toilet
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- Brighter lighting
- Auto-sensor nightlights
- Non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower
- Removing clutter
- Rearranging furniture
- Removing small rugs
- Tidying away chords, cables, and wire
Discuss Their Finances and Important Paperwork
Elderly loved ones aren’t always comfortable talking about their finances but it’s important that you encourage them to openly discuss their finances. This is vital if their income is fixed or they have a budget to stick to.
When it comes to their paperwork, check that everything is up-to-date and completed. This includes their Will or Power of Attorney. It might not be an easy conversation but it is an essential one.
Watch for Driving Issues
There will eventually come a time when your loved one is unable to drive. This may be because of declining reaction times or cognitive abilities. You should assess their driving abilities regularly and when it does become an issue, offer other options to help them retain their independence.
Make Sure They Stay Active
Exercise is important to keep your loved one healthy. Try to find ways to keep them active and involved. It’s all too easy for elderly people to become isolated and lonely. Depression is a serious risk, especially if they’ve lost their partner.
Look for ways to keep them involved with their family and friends. They might even be interested in venturing out and making new friends.
Provide Healthy Meals
As people get older they often lose the enthusiasm to cook for themselves. Staying well fed is important for their health so why not prepare meals in advance for them? They might also qualify for Meals on Wheels or another home delivery food program that might be operating in their area.
Keep a Close Eye on Them
If you wanted to keep a close eye on them all the time, you could install a camera or some type of motion sensor. You’ll be able to watch over them or be alerted if something is wrong. Medical alert systems are another option, but you have to convince your loved one to wear the alert button all the time.
Make the Most of Available Resources
Many different resources are available for the elderly. Some are community-based while others are provided by the government. Do your research and you’re bound to find something your loved one qualifies for and will benefit from.
Take Care of Yourself
If you’re taking care of someone else it’s just as important to take care of yourself. Elder carers often suffer from stress, depression, anxiety, and musculoskeletal disorders. It might help if you can find another family member who is willing to share the responsibility. However, it’s also important that you remember to take breaks, spend time away, and enjoy your life as well.