For a number of reasons, it’s usually best for both parents and their children if seniors stay in their own homes as long as possible. But these situations can be challenging because the risk is high for seniors. Half of these individuals require long-term care after a fall, and most of these individuals will fall again once they enter a nursing home. Statistics like these are very alarming for children of seniors.
How can a family reap most of the benefits of a stay-at-home senior and still allow adult children to have peace of mind about the situation?
All these decisions start with a conversation between a senior and his/her loved ones, which hopefully will not end up like this one. To avoid the same outcome, focus on two key points.
First, emphasize that everyone involved wants Mom or Dad to stay in the house. If the relationship has always been one dominated by nurturing and trust, this part should be fairly easy. If that’s not the case, and it often is not, convincing Mom or Dad of your good intentions might take a little more work. Second, point out that Mom or Dad may never need to use some of these tips or items, and that’s a good thing because it means that his/her independence has exceeded your expectations.
The outside of the house or apartment is usually the best place to start because almost everyone agrees that people should take steps to secure their property.
Landscaping: Shrubs and bushes can be both your worst enemy and your best friend. Large shrubs, particularly in poorly-lit places, give evildoers a place to hide, and strategically-planted rosebushes make windows a little more inaccessible.
Motion Lights: These outdoor lights kill two birds with one stone. They clearly deter intruders, and they also serve as built-in porch lights for those times when the homeowner comes home after dark.
Smart Keys: Instead of the old key-under-the-welcome-mat thing, install a lock that uses a keypad entry. As a bonus, many of these smart locks link with a smartphone, so the homeowner can operate locks by remote control.
All the safety devices in the world cannot substitute for human contact. Children should keep tabs on their parents periodically, or enlist the help of friends and neighbors in doing so.
With the outside reasonably secure against intruders, it’s time to focus on the inside of the house. Here, falls are the main concern, but there are others as well.
Make sure each room has plenty of light; also make sure that there are nightlights in the hallways.
Throw rugs are pretty but do not use them unless they are firmly secured to the floor.
Make sure that assistive devices, like a lightweight grabber, are available.
If Mom or Dad uses a pill organizer, make sure that all the pills are in the right places and that the organizer is empty at the end of the week. It may be best to fill it yourself.
It may also be cost-effective, and emotionally easier, to hire a housekeeper/handyperson to keep the house clean, change the lightbulbs, and take care of other such matters. You can find a qualified home caretaker online, and save money if you use a Care discount code.
Whereas security measures are largely preventative, personal habits should be proactive. Encourage Mom or Dad to be active. As little as thirty minutes of walking a day has significant physical and emotional benefits. A senior-oriented fitness class is even better. The activities are designed for people of that age, and members benefit from the social interaction.
Everyone benefits when seniors stay home, especially if you stick with the plan.