As our loved ones age, it can be frustrating for family members. We often try to jump in and take over a task to save time, but we are not doing them or ourselves any favors.
Keeping them independent for as long as possible is better for everyone. It helps them keep active and maintain both physical and mental health. There are a few ways you can help them keep their independence.
Make Their Home Safe
A big part of being able to age at home is to make sure the home is safe. Needs change as we age, and there may be concerns with mobility, sight, hearing, and dexterity.
Make sure there is room to maneuver through the hose if there is a wheelchair, cane or walker needed. Change handles and pulls on drawers and cabinets, and even install a chairlift if required.
Install a ramp, if they need it, and make sure all items they need can be reached. This may mean lowering cabinets or rearranging things to be within their reach. Louder doorbells or phone rings can also help.
Keep Them Social
If they are no longer able to drive or get around safely, make sure they keep their social dates. Make arrangements for them to get to weekly or daily social events.
Encourage them to do so, as well. Many people may feel like a burden but it’s vital for their well-being to be social, even if it’s a coffee date with an old friend. Bring the friends to them if that works best.
If they don’t have many friends left, encourage them to join a group or club that interests them. Dancing, cards, book clubs, art, or anything else. Ask them what they would like to do and find a group or a class for them.
Staying active, in any capacity is very important. It keeps them stronger and helps to reduce the risk of falls or injury. Group activities are a great way to promote movement and socializing.
Sometimes, just a walk to the store or out for coffee every day can be enough. People get set in their ways and comfortable at home, so it is important they get out as often as possible. Don’t let them become couch ornaments.
If mobility is already a concern, you can get activities they can do while sitting or utilizing what mobility they do have. A physical therapist can be a great help here by making home visits.
Keep Their Minds Active
Make attempts to keep their brains agile and active. Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, reading, or conversation is a great way to keep people’s minds alert. Asking questions about a movie you just watched.
Online activities are also a great way to keep their minds running and it can be great for their dexterity skills, as well. You can find all kinds of puzzles online for free and this is a great way to learn new tasks and hone their old ones.
Ask them if there is something they have always wanted to do and help them get there. Encouraging them to go online can open up a whole new world for them and help them connect to more people.
Caring for your aging parents or loved ones is a lot of work, and you shouldn’t have to shoulder the job yourself. Get caregivers to come in and help where they need it, like cooking or cleaning, or to drive them around.
You don’t want to get burnt out and your loved one doesn’t want to feel like a burden. This way, you know they are getting professional help and still getting around and looked after.
You can also get a medical alert system. This will connect them directly to help if they need it and it is very comforting to you and to them to know help is just a pressed button away.
There is no reason that aging gracefully can be attainable for all of our loved ones and ourselves. Give them and yourself the peace of mind that even if something does happen, they are not alone.