The number of Americans aged 65 or over is set to double in the next thirty years. Studies show that for most of this aging population, their preference is to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Read on for a few tips on how you can help your parents or grandparents to continue living independently for as long as possible.
Safety at home
Conduct a detailed examination of the home the parent is living in to ensure it is safe. Look out for uneven floors or obstructed pathways, unsecured rugs and areas of poor lighting. If necessary, fit additional handrails and grab bars in areas such as the bathroom.
If you are still concerned about someone’s ability to look after themselves, providing them with a fully mobile personal emergency response system, such as the Libris device manufactured by Nortek Security & Control, allows the user to reclaim their sense of independence while also providing members of their extended family with peace of mind.
The Libris constantly monitors health data such as blood pressure and pulse oximetry and also provides information location and activity levels. The device is also capable of detecting falls and has the ability to automatically summon the emergency services.
Deliveries to the door
Many elderly people struggle to eat healthy meals. While in some cases this may be due to difficulties linked to the actual cooking of food, more often the problems are associated with making trips to local stores in order to purchase the necessary ingredients.
While it is important to encourage your parent to remain as active as possible and to get out and about in their local community on a regular basis, you can remove much of the time burden needed to gather basic essentials such as groceries and medical supplies, by having them delivered directly to their door.
Freedom to travel
A key element of independent living is the ability to come and go as you please. If a parent loses the ability to drive a vehicle, either due to their age or because of a conviction, that could restrict their ability to travel, leading to an increased sense of isolation.
In some cases, an ignition interlock device will be installed in a vehicle as part of a court order related to a DUI conviction. However, you can also fit a device to a vehicle if you are concerned about someone driving with an excessive amount of alcohol in their system, enabling them to continue driving and in doing so, maintaining independent links with friends and family.
Comfort in companionship
If you live some distance from your parents, it may be difficult for you to visit them on a regular basis. Contact local support organizations, both secular and non-secular to see if there is anyone who can make such visits on your behalf. You could also try to enlist the help of neighbors or other members of the community.
Loneliness can be a huge concern, especially if a parent has been recently bereaved. One way of providing an around-the-clock companion is to consider giving your parent a pet. Not only does this help to reduce feelings of isolation but the sense of responsibility that goes hand in hand with pet ownership can give the parent a new sense of purpose, making the choice to live independently far easier.