There are many steps that you will need to take at the beginning of your new caregiver journey to ensure that you are prepared to fulfill this role in the best way possible. One of the most important is to evaluate the potential risks and challenges that your aging loved one is facing so that you can plan ways to reduce those risks and keep them living safely at home.
Studies show that approximately 90 percent of aging adults over the age of 65 would rather age in place in their home rather than considering any other care arrangement. In order for them to accomplish this safely, however, it is vital that you recognize and address any possible dangers that might exist in their home. Also note the nature of their individual challenges and limitations so that you are able to address them in a way that is effective, yet respectful, of your aging loved one’s beliefs, opinions, desires, and goals.
Some of the possible dangers of your aging parent living alone include:
- Fall hazards. Each year millions of older adults end up in the emergency room to seek treatment for injuries sustained due to falls. For some of them, this is the beginning of a sharp decline in physical functioning and activity that can lead to diminished quality of life and increased risk of mortality. Go throughout your parent’s home and look for any risks that might be present, such as loose floor coverings, unstable handrails, low lighting, or tripping hazards so that you can remove or address them effectively.
- Nutrition. Malnourishment is a serious issue among elderly adults. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including that they do not have the budget to eat a well-balanced diet, are not able to get to the grocery store to shop, do not have the motivation to cook for themselves, or are dealing with cognitive or physical limitations that keep them from being able to manage their nutritional needs. You can help to address this by setting them up with an online grocery shopping program or meal delivery service, scheduling trips to the grocery store, or preparing meals for them regularly.
- Loneliness and isolation. Particularly if your aging parent has been accustomed to living with others, such as a partner, and has only recently experienced the loss of this partner or others who were living with them, living alone can be a difficult adjustment. They could experience loneliness and isolation that put then at risk for depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. It is important that you ensure that there will be plenty of social stimulation and engagement in your loved one’s schedule. This can include visits from you, time spent with a home care provider, and even participation in the community in the form of volunteering, maintaining friendships, or getting involved in activities such as continued learning or clubs.
- Inability to keep up with the house. Tasks such as doing laundry, washing dishes, cleaning the home, and maintaining the lawn can be extremely difficult for your aging parent. They might suffer from challenges and limitations that keep them from being able to manage these tasks safely or effectively, which could lead to injury when they attempt to handle them, or to the tasks going undone and making the home an unsafe or unhealthy environment. It is important to arrange for assistance in getting these tasks completed so that your aging parent can live in the type of environment that they deserve and you can have peace of mind.
If you or an aging loved one are considering in-home senior care in Spokane WA, please contact the friendly staff at Love at Home Senior Carr, today. Call (509) 204-4088.
- Are You in Good Hands? 5 Key Qualities That the Best Caregivers Should Have - December 3, 2019
- Emergency Preparedness: A Checklist for Older Adults and Seniors - November 29, 2019
- 6 Fun Fall Activities That Seniors and Caregivers Will Love - November 27, 2019