If you have elderly parents or relatives at home (as I do), or even if they do not stay with you but well, you are at least partly responsible for their well being, you will surely be able to relate to this post.
While I ensure that I do the most obvious things for them – purchasing the medicines regularly, taking them for a health checkup periodically – I am always left with a feeling that I could do a lot more.
At the same time, we all live with constraints – so any ideas I try should also be practical and should be relevant and useful to them.
Does not appear like a super easy list, but I am trying in this post.
Preparing the Home
- Use technology to monitor and control some of their activities. Products such as QuietCare use strategically placed motion sensors, to keep tabs on their elders’ movements, for instance.
- Simple tweaks and additions, such as Grab Bars in the shower and near the toilet.
- If you are not living with the elderly, make sure you visit frequently and quickly scan if there is any small additional thing you might to do include in the environment.
- Remove cluttered extra furniture lying around the house that might make it difficult for your elders to move around freely.
- Antiscald devices for shower and faucets – as these protect older skin and prevent from serious burns. Or set the water heaters at 120 degrees – to a “low” temperature.
- Ensure all cables and wires are tucked away to prevent slips or falls.
- Install non-skid mats, strips, or pads in the toilet, bathtub or shower and other slippery areas of the house.
- Make sure there are night lights installed at strategic places around the house so that when your elders go to the bathroom or to fetch water at night, they can find their way around.
Health & Safety
- Medication Management – You need to take care that the medications prescribed have no side-effects, and don’t interact with any other medicines. Also, make sure that the pharmacist is honest and of repute, as sometimes they can repackage pills that shouldn’t be taken by making it look all new.
- What you can do is label the medicines and put them in separate drawers or compartments, making it easy for your parents or elders to find them.
- Regular exercise – It’s a well-known fact that if older people exercise regularly, they remain protected from diseases, and this makes them functionally younger by 10 to 15 years. The way to get elders do these exercises is by providing them equipments right in the room that they can use to do simple exercises while watching TV or talking to someone.
- Become more accepting of their declining limits – very important! This perspective alone will help significantly in making their lives far more comfortable.
Keeping them Socially Connected
- Get them involved in activities nearby, especially where they can use their expertise
- Provide them with simple mobility solutions – such as tricycle
- Your parents or seniors could also join voluntary programs, or take part in educating those who need it – their way of helping others.
- Documentation – Complete all the paper work beforehand, like the power of attorney, just in case it’s needed if your parents or elders can’t control their finances any longer. It’s recommended that seniors add a second person with a detailed photograph, whether a friend or professional, who will also be there to keep a check on things. Similarly, let your parents make their will and keep it in safe custody with the lawyer or with whomsoever they prefer. Your parents and elders also feel happier when all of this is done.
- Getting them new friends – They can do so my mixing up with others and visiting clubs, or joining common hobby courses. Small things like going for walks together, playing games or cards, shopping, or just talking can help your elders feel better. Remember, at their age – its company they seek more than anything else. I see my mother-in-law in a similar situation, and often wish I could spend more time with her.
Keeping them entertained and involved
- Get them a pet
- Getting old family pictures into nice albums and somehow making these more than dumb picture lists – perhaps picture labelling at the back of each photo?
- Coloring books
- Old songs and music
- Modify some hobbies to suit their limitations and changed mobility
- Grow a Bonsai
- Easy yoga exercises
- Pressed flower projects
- Reading aloud
- Gentle hand massage
- Virtual travel – http://www.passportforwellness.com/
- Positive, humourous and entertaining conversations