You love your aging parents dearly and are glad they’re both still living independently in the home you grew up in. But now that mom and dad are both in their 70s, you’ve noticed that they’re having trouble keeping up their home like they once did. There are dirty clothes and dishes piled up, and unopened mail lying around. Even the yard, once dad’s pride-and-joy, isn’t being kept up. Nothing would make you happier than to see them continue aging gracefully right where they are, enjoying one another’s company.
But you also want them to be safe and healthy and it’s starting to concern you. You’ve been trying to think of ways to help ensure their aging in place continues, but it’s been hard. To assist your efforts, here are some ideas for keeping your senior parents living comfortably at home.
Identify and Discuss Care Needs
Based upon your observations, identify the weekly or daily living activities they might be having trouble doing. Discuss those with your siblings, along with what they’ve also noticed. Write down a list of tasks that you all can share, and then carefully approach your parents with your ideas.
They’ll probably get initially defensive, but explain that you all want to return the love they showed you growing up. Once they think about it, your parents will probably accept their adult children taking on some of their workload. Gradually start assisting them with:
- Transportation. This could be trips to the doctor, grocery, or other activities. Use it as a time to catch up and share memories.
- Housework. Offer to clean their house once a week to give them a break.
- Yardwork. Mention that you don’t want dad up on that ladder anymore cleaning out the gutters or trimming tree limbs and that you’ll find someone to do it instead.
- Meal preparation. Tell your parents that you and your siblings would like to bring them dinner several nights a week to make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need.
- Managing their finances. Many seniors don’t understand online banking and bill pay. Help them set up those services to save time and ensure on-time payments.
As your parents slowly begin to accept you and your siblings assisting around the home, they’ll probably be open to more of the same. Make sure that one caregiver doesn’t shoulder too much of the workload, as that can affect their health and wellbeing.
Help Modify Their Home
As we get older it can become harder to use some of our home’s features. For example, stairs and bathrooms can become challenging if one or both of your parents has a medical condition affecting their coordination and/or strength.
Offer to help your parents modify their home to make it more senior-friendly and safe. Explain that many people over 65 suffer at-home falls every year, and even share some articles with them about those accidents. Conduct a walk-through in their home while pointing out possible hazards, and suggest some modifications you’d be happy to carry out. For example:
- Install a wheelchair ramp
- Widen the doorways to accommodate a walker or wheelchair
- Put in a shower chair and/or safety bar
- Add a raised toilet seat and safety bar near the toilet
- Replace raised entryway thresholds with flush ones
- Have a stair-climber installed
- Replace their tub shower with a walk-in style
- Place textured no-slip strips in the bathtub/shower
- Move their laundry facilities to the main level
- Remove slippery throw rugs, especially in the bathroom and kitchen
- Modify the kitchen so that items are easy-to-reach, and appliances safe to use
- Make sure there’s ample lighting throughout the home, notably in hallways and on stairs
There are other safety modifications that you can help your parents complete in their home, but this list will give you a good start. If one or both of your parents has been diagnosed with dementia, it makes these safety precautions even more important.
We’ll Help Keep Your Parents Aging at Home
Helping your aging parents live independently in the comfort of their own home is a noble undertaking, but on the flip side, it can be challenging and exhausting. When you need a break, a respite caregiver from Elder Home Care can step in and provide your parents with the in-home nurturing they deserve.
Our caregivers are all carefully screened, well-trained, and highly qualified, and our services are flexible, affordable, and reliable. Our senior at-home solutions include light housekeeping, meals, transportation, personal hygiene, and companionship; all delivered seamlessly to put your mind at ease. We provide care in the Nassau and Suffolk Counties including Smithtown, Huntington, and Queens areas of New York as well as in Philadelphia, PA and the surrounding suburbs area. To learn more about the family-trusted senior in-home care Elder Home Care provides, visit www.ehcus.com.