Helping Your Elderly Parent Age in Place

The population is aging. As healthcare improves, people are living longer and surviving despite having complex health needs. This makes it very likely that your parents will still be around in their 80s, and perhaps even their 90s. While it’s common for older people to move into senior assisted living facilities and nursing homes, there are a great number of seniors who prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. In this article, we are going to offer a few tips to help your aged parent find the care they need – at home.

Growing old in the comfort of your own home should always be an option. It’s unfair to force a senior to leave their much-loved home and belongings and move into a place where they know nobody. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are also a lot more expensive. Unless your aged parent has complex healthcare needs that can’t be met at home, even with 24/7 nursing care, it is better for them and you to put a plan in place to help them remain at home for as long as possible.

Do a Needs Assessment

Sit down with your parent and undertake a full needs assessment. How mobile are they? Can they dress, wash, and feed themselves, or do they require help with personal care tasks? How isolated is the property? Is help available if they need it? Are family and friends close by who can call in and check up on the person?

This is when you all need to have an honest conversation. It’s no good expecting an elderly parent to cope on their own if they live in the middle of nowhere and have no support systems in place, no matter how much they want to stay in their home.

Be realistic about your parent’s physical and mental decline. A frail person with full cognitive function will find it easier to remain at home – with help – than an elderly person in the throes of dementia. Dementia requires specialist care and 24/7 supervision to ensure the person comes to no harm.

Once everyone is satisfied that the person is capable of remaining in their own home with appropriate care and supervision, the next step is to put some safety measures in place.

Personal Alarms

Aging parents need a personal alarm or medical alert system set up. This enables them to call for help if they fall or have some other medical issue. There are several systems on the market, so research the best medical alerts and personal alarms. Look for a product that fits your budget and has good reviews from other users.

Different Types of Care

Depending on your budget and needs, there are different care options available. The most basic is paying someone to visit two or three times a day to help with personal care and medication, preparing food, and doing household chores. If your parent is reasonably active and/or only in the very early stages of dementia, this option could be sufficient.

Aged parents with mobility issues will need a greater level of care. You may need to pay for a live-in carer to ensure their needs are fully taken care of. Speak to some local care agencies to see how much a care package would cost.

Maintain Social Networks

Many seniors get very lonely in later life. Put plans in place to ensure your aged parent is able to get out and socialize. Ask their neighbors to check on them if you don’t live nearby and try to call them as often as possible.

Lastly, consider making renovations to their home, to make it easier to use the bathroom and get up and down the stairs.

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