Ask almost any senior and they will tell you that they would prefer to stay in their own home as they age gracefully and comfortably. Most seniors need additional help, as they find it increasingly difficult to drive, clean, cook or shop. There was a time when it was common for multi-generational families to all remain in the same home but that is seldom the case anymore. Adult children would love to keep their parents at home, but many do not live near enough to care for them. Even when they do live nearby, they often work long hours, have small children or other obligations that make it impossible. If there is no one else in the home to perform these tasks the senior may need additional help. With planning, family support and a reputable home care agency, like Whole Life Home Care all of these chores can be managed. Today more than ever, there are many ways for family members who do not live near to stay in a close communication with their respected elders.
Here are SIX simple ways to make aging in place a happy healthy experience.
Health Check Up – It is always a good idea to check with your doctor as you make long term plans. Finding out what health concerns may affect your parent’s ability to remain in the home safely is important. Your primary care doctor can also order an occupational therapy home check up. This therapist comes to the home and determines what safety items would be helpful, like a walker, shower chair and bars, and other special tools that make life easier for the senior. The doctor can also order a driving test/evaluation to determine if the senior is still safe to drive. The doctor is required to alert the DMV if he feels that the senior may be at risk to himself or others. If the doctor orders your parent to stop driving, this may be an easier way of getting them to turn their keys over to another driver. We provide driving services for many of our clients. Knowing that personalized transportation is available and that they won’t be stuck without transportation helps many make this transition.
Mental Health Check Up– If you feel as if your parent is losing their memory or has been behaving erratically it is time for a mental health check up. Over 50% of seniors over the age of 85 have some form of dementia. The primary care doctor can make the diagnosis or refer to a neurologist or psychiatrist who specializes in senior care. If your parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you should arrange a free family counseling session with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Alzheimer’s San Diego (alzsd.org). This will help you understand the progression of the disease and the safety concerns that may arise as the disease progresses. A senior with mild impairment may be safe at home with a spouse or daily checks by a caregiver. Others may need 24 hour care. It is important for planning to understand how much in home care your parent will need as time progresses.
Home Safety Check Up– Most seniors need some tidying up to make their homes safer. Falls and the subsequent injuries like broken hips or head trauma are the number one reason that seniors end up in the hospital and are no longer able to remain at home. Simple changes like removing throw rugs, eliminating extension cords, making bathrooms safer with grab bars, elevated toilets and other minor adjustments can make the home much safer. Whole Life Home Care has a senior home care specialist who can make a free home visits to assess all areas of the home for safety. Call us 858-369-5930 today.
There are also specialty contractors, like Aging In Place who can install walk in bath-tubs, wheel chair ramps, and make all sorts of safety modifications to make the home safe and accessible for seniors in every situation. There is even the granny pod, a modular home that can be placed in the backyard. It provides a separate fully functional safe “granny flat” for mom.
Social Circle Check up– Families, close friends, and neighbors are an essential part of healthy senior living. When seniors are isolated they can easily become depressed, confused or disoriented. Some seniors are already very active at senior centers, their church, their mahj jong group, their gym etc. If your parent stops attending activities and stops socializing it is important to find out why. Are they depressed? Change of medication could help. Are they afraid to drive (have had a few close calls?). A caregiver from Whole Life Home care can safely drive them to activities. Do they forget social events unless reminded? A caregiver could also create a bold visible calendar or set alarms in the senior’s phone. If the calendar is available for family members they can also remind their loved one. Are they worried that they won’t be able to find a bathroom or that they may have an accident? There are a whole variety of products and panties that make this less of a worry. Also good planning can take the stress out of trips away from home. It is also beneficial to set up a social visit calendar, to make sure that family members and friends and neighbors take turns making daily calls to check on the senior. This could also include a meal delivery, a small shopping basket or just a yummy treat.
This is also where technology can play a part. If you have a senior who uses a smart phone, an I-pad or a computer, it is possible to connect with them daily even when far away. Set up a daily face-time or skype call. If your parent or grandparent does not have the ability to use these tools themselves, a daily caregiver could help make this happen. We have caregivers calling families daily to update the family and also family can check in on their computer to our family room where caregivers leave a message at the end of each shift.
There are cameras, motion sensors; electronic pill dispensers, life alerts, and all sorts of high tech gear that can help children who live out of the area keep a watchful eye. This can also make the parent feel safer and more connected to family. Our home care expert can introduce the family to these tools to make connections and daily care easier.
Meaning of Life Check Up- Many seniors especially those suffering with health issues and memory issues have a hard time figuring out what is important to them and what can motivate them to stay healthy and active. Treating our elders as insightful matriarchs and patriarchs of the family and valuing their wisdom is important. Has your parent or grandparent written down their life story for your children? Can you or a caregiver capture their stories on a recorder and transcribe it, if they are unable to do so. Can your parent go through family photos from the past and identify the people in them and tell their stories? Putting together photo albums could be a meaningful pastime for a senior. Can your parent visit your child’s classroom to share experiences of the Greatest Generation or can you arrange for your parent to attend a grandchild’s school or sport event.
Is your parent able to volunteer at a hospital or a public charity? If not physically able to volunteer, maybe they could use some of their skills to provide donations to charity. Perhaps they could make knitted hats for tiny babies in the NICU or build birdhouses for a Head Start playground. Talk with your family, what can you all do to make your loved one feel special and vital? Try your best to investigate what would make life worth living for the senior in your life.
Home Care Expert Checkup (Call us today 858-369-5930) – You are not alone. You can call on us. We answer your call 24/7. We can make it really simple. We know what you need and how to arrange it. We can help you whether it is simply a senior companion or someone with experience caring for a wheel chair bound senior or someone with dementia.
We are the home care experts and we can guide you through senior home care every step of the way. Our agency has complied with the new licensing laws and we are now certified by the State of California and all of our caregivers are registered with the State of California as well. This means that every one of the caregivers who come to your home is our employee who has been finger printed with the Dept of Justice, has had special safety training, and is insured by Worker’s Compensation and professional liability insurance.
We can provide a caregiver for as little as 4 hours per week up to full time live-in or 24 hour per day care. Most importantly, as a family business, we never send someone to your home that we wouldn’t invite into our own home to care for our family member. In fact, we have used our own services for a beloved family member. We really mean it when we say “Caring for Your family as Our Own”.