How to Keep Them Safe and Independent

It’s difficult to watch your aging loved ones struggle with the day-to-day tasks of living. You want to help them, but you don’t know what they need or how much is too much. The best thing you can do if you don’t know How to Keep Them Safe and Independent is offer assistance with simple tasks and respect their autonomy by giving them the opportunity to help themselves.

How to Keep Them Safe and Independent

It’s also important not to take over for them, but it is equally important that they know they are loved and that you’re there to support them in any way possible!

How to Keep Them Safe and Independent

Keeping the elderly independent comes with much responsibility from all parties involved. The parent, the children and at times even caregiver can feel frustrated by this process. I’ve found that parents enjoy their independence as long as they’re safe and secure in their homes. Even if their physical abilities aren’t what they used to be, it’s important for them to feel like they can do things for themselves while living alone.

When you come into the picture, this whole scenario becomes a balancing act on your part. And it’s not easy! You want your parents to feel independent but safe at the same time. 

First, you may need to evaluate whether your parent’s home is safe and secure enough for them to live by themselves. If the answer is yes, then set up some simple rules that will help ensure their safety but also allow them to maintain their independence.

How to Keep Them Safe and Independent

The following are some of my suggestions…

Offer Assistance with Simple Tasks

Remember that you may not know all the struggles your loved one is going through, so it’s important to offer assistance without being presumptuous. You can ask them if there are any tasks they need help with (like cleaning the house or doing the laundry).

Then, offer to take on some of those tasks. If they don’t want your help, that’s okay! Just be sure to give them an opportunity to tell you what they need in their own words.

Offer Assistance with Simple Tasks

Respect their Autonomy

After you’ve offered assistance, respect the elderly loved one’s decision to either accept your help or not. It can be difficult to watch them struggle with a task that is second nature to you, but it might just be frustrating for them and they simply need someone to observe.

Respecting their autonomy by giving them the opportunity to help themselves is important, no matter what they need help with. You may be used to giving orders and leading tasks to completion, but that’s not the best approach for a loved one who may have different needs.

Instead, offer to help when they’re doing something and see if they’ll let you do some of the tasks involved. For instance, if you want to help them clean up their kitchen, ask them if it would be okay with them if you washed the dishes while they sweep.

Sometimes your loved one has other skills that are still functional but are just waiting to re-surface. Offer encouragement and praise for anything they can do without assistance. This will give them the confidence to help themselves!

Respect their autonomy

As a caregiver for your aging parent, you are probably very concerned about them being safe and healthy. However, there is one thing that you can do to help keep your family healthier than any other precaution:

You have to let go of control.

Loving the elderly is a choice, but it’s something you have to do without your own selfish interests in mind. By allowing your parent to maintain their independence during their later years, you are doing them and your entire family a great service.  You can’t control everything that happens around you, but if you’re confident that both they and you are safe and sound, you’ll be relieved of worry.  

Being able to let go of control has been one of the biggest challenges for me in dealing with a loved one’s personal needs on my own.  I didn’t want them to struggle with things they were used to doing without effort, but I had to remind myself that it was as much for me as it was for them:  I couldn’t control everything.  

In fact, I realized that I did more harm than good by always trying to take over because of my own need to feel in-charge.  It wasn’t until I stepped back and allowed my parent’s independence to flourish again that I was able to relax and enjoy our time together more.  

You have to let go of control.

When you’re consistently worried about your loved one doing something wrong, it’s difficult for them to feel secure that you actually love them for who they are.

How to Keep Them Safe and Independent: Support them

Don’t take over for them, but make sure they know you’re there to support them in any way possible! Remember that your loved one may be used to doing certain tasks on their own and may have anxiety in new situations. Offer help with simple tasks like taking the garbage out or going to the store.

If they tell you they don’t need help, ask them what you can do to help them. It’s important that they know that you’re there for them no matter what. It’s also important not to take over for them, but it is equally important that they know you’re there to support them in any way possible!

How to Keep Them Safe and Independent

The bottom line:

It is important not to take over for your aging loved ones, but it is equally important that they know you’re there to support them in any way possible!

Make sure they are safe and secure while maintaining their independence is a joyous undertaking. It may seem daunting at first, but with some practice, you should be able to do it easily. Good luck!

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5 Independent Living Tips for Seniors: Staying Active

Independent Living Tips for Seniors? You’ve just retired and you’re ready to move forward with your next stage of life. Living independently might be a new experience for you, so how do you make the adjustment?

5 Independent Living Tips for Seniors: Staying Active

Living on your own can be rewarding, but it does require some adjustments. Here are 5 independent living tips that will help seniors stay active in their daily lives and continue to live an engaged lifestyle.

5 Independent Living Tips for Seniors: Staying Active

My five independent living tips for seniors are important to follow for a better quality of life. These five independent living tips for seniors involve dependence on others outside the home, yet can help those less likely to have to live in a retirement home or other less than ideal situation.

These five independent living tips for seniors are in no particular order. Deciding whether to live alone, with relatives, or in another setting is one where all factors should be considered carefully.

Have A Call and Stop-By List In Place

Living alone doesn’t mean living lonely. For seniors, you must have at least a couple of people outside your home watching your back every week. Have them call you or stop by your house once or twice a week to make sure you are alright, and to provide some human contact. Owning a pet can also provide companionship and protection.

This is the most important thing to do and will help you maintain a higher quality of life.

Independent Living Tips for Seniors

Hire Out or Find Volunteers For Strenuous and/or Risky Household Chores

Unless you’re fit and agile and have even discussed doing strenuous or risky household chores with your doctor, find a volunteer to do this or hire someone for these tasks.

What kind of chores are we talking about?

Heavy lifting, moving furniture, shoveling snow in the winter, getting on a ladder and cleaning out the storm gutters, and taking out the trash.

There are many people who would be happy to help you with these chores in exchange for food or money, or they might do it because they want to lend a hand and feel like part of your family.

These chores aren’t worth breaking a bone or having a heart attack over. If you do decide to take on these tasks, at the very least, have someone help you.

Hire Out or Find Volunteers

Create a Home Evacuation Plan

No matter if you live alone or with others, fires and other natural disasters can create a difficult situation when trying to immediately evacuate a home. This is especially true for fires.

Call your local fire department official(s) (a city, county, or state fire agency) and have them visit your home to advise you on making it safer and more ready-made for safe evacuation.

And make sure that you have a list of the medications and other medical supplies you use handy, and give a copy of this list to a trusted person who can advise medical staff in the event of an emergency.

Make Sure Your Legal Affairs Are In Order

Being independent means being smart when it comes to managing your personal affairs of financial, property, and medical aspects of your life. Consult a lawyer about powers of attorney, especially for health care and finances (in the event of incapacitation).

Make Sure Your Legal Affairs Are In Order

Make sure you have a will and that it’s updated to reflect your wishes. Don’t leave your family and loved ones in the lurch in the event of your passing or incapacitation.

We can go into the legal ramifications of what a will or living trust is later, but it is important to talk to your financial planner or lawyer and get this taken care of. If you don’t currently have either of those people handy, check with your local bank and see if they can help you.

If Possible, Have a “Life Alert” Type of System Set-Up in Your Home

Falling is the number cause of accidental injury for people 65 and older who are at home. What happens if you fall and can’t get up and aren’t near a phone nor are people nearby to hear you?

If you can afford to do so or can find a locally-based program that covers the cost, set up a “Life Alert” type of system that lets you immediately alert emergency personnel in the event of an accident or other emergency via a worn point of contact gadget.

Independent Living Tips for Seniors

One of the best ways to stay independent is by staying active. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean being physically fit, it means keeping your mind and body busy through activities like reading books, playing board games or cards with friends and family members (or strangers!), going on walks outside amongst nature – there’s so much more than just gardening, taking classes, learning a new skill and keeping your brain busy by learning to play an instrument.

Some of these activities you can do on your own time, but others might require some help from family members or friends.

No matter what activity you choose, make sure that it keeps both the mind and body active! Living independently doesn’t mean just staying at home and going on a walk once in a while.

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How To Help Aging Parents Stay In Their Home

As our parents and those around their age group gets older, they have a passion for living at home instead of opting for a senior care home. They feel the confidence that if they are home, they will be happier thus live longer. However, it is not always as easy as it sounds because, at times, they require extensive care to stay in their home and don’t have anyone around.

How To Help Aging Parents Stay In Their Home

Reaching 65 and over is the point where they have the hardest adjustments to make as they ponder their fate of staying at home or not.

How To Help Aging Parents Stay In Their Home

Based on reports from the American Associated of Retired Persons (AARP), even low-income earners or those living along the line of poverty prefer to stay at the place they called home for all those years.

However, children and others responsible for their elderly family members have noted the importance of keeping them where they are used to though it comes with lots of challenges. The question is often asked, “If they are to stay at home, what is required?” In keeping them at home, some individual decisions and plans must be put in place to ensure all is well. These include:

Providing Nutritious Meals Helps Stay in Their Home

When they plan to stay at home, plans have to be made to provide them with nutritious meals that their bodies will need to function. If they don’t have a set meal provider, connecting with a food-feeding program or ministry like “Meals on Wheels” should be considered.

Bear in mind their bodies can no longer produce the needed proactive cells to fight back viruses and other negative forces, and as such, the various nutrients will be needed to do the job effectively.

How can I help my elderly parent stay at home?

Supervised Medication

When they are at home, someone must keep abreast of their medication and ensure they always take them. Messing up medication schedules can harm the body and eventually be fatal.

As they go up in age, most elderly tend to lose their sense of memory, so they may even misplace their pills. Also, some take injections and will need assistance in performing the relevant processes. There should be an assigned help or arrange for an in-house nursing service to assist them.

Don’t Let Them Overwork

When looking at having them stay in their home, you have to step in and keep them from doing too much. There is always work to be done in the home from mopping the floors to dusting the tables and windows.

With your parents at home, you would not want them to be consumed with the household chores that will cause them to become overwhelmed and drained. You have to reduce or eliminate the workload by hiring a house cleaner to take care of the cleaning, washing, and sometimes cooking.

Also, getting the assistance of a landscaper will be great to take care of the weeding and mowing, and shoveling of snow in the winter. Of course, you may not be successful in taking it all away from them because they tend to have that level of “independence” in trying to do their work themselves.

Don’t Let Them Pay The Bills

In a time when scammers are on the rise, you may want to keep an eye on all those mail they pick up. Scammers have a way of making the “common bills look real” by addressing the phone or electricity company, and the elderly may not be able to tell the difference efficiently.

How can we help aging parents?

Millions are duped from the elderly each year because they are not aware of what they are spending their money on. Having someone around will provide guidance, or you can arrange for online payment so they won’t have to handle any cash.

After all, all that waste is bad for their finances, especially as they will need their money for future medical and other purposes.

Get Their Homes Senior proofed

There is nothing as hard as having a broken bone or hip to recover from, especially at such tender age. When your parents decide to keep living at home, one of the significant things you should consider is getting the house senior proofed.

By this, you can install rails on the stairs or sidebars along the walls for support. You may also want to fit elevated toilet seats so they won’t be pressured to sit low and put their selves at risk of falling.

If you live in a home with stairs, allowing them to stay on the lower ground may also be safer as it reduces the pressure to climb the excessive staircase.

The bottom line? We want them to be a safe as possible with diminishing physical capabilities. My dad couldn’t eventually walk three steps without resting, stairs were a nightmare for him.

Reduce Their Driving

Driving is one of the independent things that they never wish to give up because they always want to be mobile. However, at the rate drivers are now, it may not be so safe for them to be out there on their own. Just know getting the keys away from them won’t be so easy!

What do seniors need to stay in their homes?

But, initiating a conversation before a serious accident happens is the key. There is a way to lighten their key grip: let them understand the reasons you are doing what you think is best. Make sure you offer alternatives. You can offer to take them on their appointments or hire a driver to take them around.

*Teach Them To Use Modern Technology

Technology is taking over the world and keeping your parents in the know is the best way going forward. With the use of technology, they will be able to stay in touch with friends and family through different platforms.

It also keeps them in the loop with the news, weather, their favorite games, and so much more. Technology will provide some level of comfort for them as if they can’t get to go out to get their papers or magazines; they can easily access from a tablet or computer.

The hard part of aging is being able to do it with dignity. If they truly want to stay in the home they grew up in then make it suit their needs. If not? look at moving them into one of their children’s houses. Being around family gives them comfort and lets them feel safe knowing they are around people who care for them. But that is a topic for another day.

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Enabling Aging Parents to Age In Place

Adult children caring for aging parents can feel more confident and less burdened if they know what to expect. This primer on slow medicine and how to help them age in place can help.

The principles of “aging in place” and Dr. Dennis McCullough’s “slow medicine” can help adult children get unstuck from difficult relational issues when caring for aging parents.

age in place article cover image

Age in Place: What Those Caring for Aging Parents Should Know

Aging in place is a movement to help aging parents stay in their homes for as long as possible.

To achieve this, adult children and their aging parents need to overcome the prevailing belief in society that discussing illness and death is akin to bringing it on. Like any other goal in life, aging in place requires forethought, planning, and discussion.

Age in Place: What Those Caring for Aging Parents Can Do

Adult children can initiate conversations with aging parents early on by asking them about their experience of aging and their view of the future.

They can research legal and financial planning that will help achieve the goals of everyone involved, instead of waiting for a crisis that can take choices away.

Adult children can research and understand communities like Beacon Hill that provide the services people need to age in place.

Slow Medicine: What Those Caring for Aging Parents Should Know

Adult children caring for aging parents need to understand how to prevent medical crises.

Slow medicine teaches that the current medical protocols in our society are often not in the best interests of the elderly. In most cases, they cater to the needs of doctors, insurers, and younger people.

The prevailing medical paradigm teaches that everything that can be tried should be tried at all costs. This ignores the fact that death is a natural part of life, and an individual is more than just an illness.

Elderly individuals have needs unique to their age that are not taken into account in health care. For example, it can take an older adult twice as long to recover from a simple procedure than a person at mid-life. Yet insurers do not honor this.

Slow Medicine: What Adult Children Caring for Aging Parents Can Do

Slow medicine emphasizes developing a “Circle of Concern” – the friends, neighbors, adult children, doctors, nurses, and other support persons aging parents must rely upon to prevent crises and help them stay in their homes longer.

Adult children can help this type of trust develop over time by starting a conversation about health care early on and listening instead of pushing. Aging parents will be more likely to confide in adult children and doctors if they see them as collaborators and not dictators who will push difficult and taxing medical procedures on them.

When an elderly parent complains of being tired or slowing down, adult children need not tell their parents that he or she is “giving in” or “giving up.” Adult children need to accept the facts of aging.

Aging parents have slowed down cognitively. There may be hearing and vision loss. They are more apt to withdraw than to open up in a crowd of visitors. Adult children may need to spend one-on-one time with each parent to truly understand what is going on.

If adult children understand what to expect practically and medically, the latter part of their aging parents’ lives can be a healing time of connection, rather than a terrible burden being carried by an adult child alone. Slow medicine and aging in place resources can help.

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