Family is considered as one of the most valuable things in the world. It is far more valuable than anything else, so taking care of our elderly loved ones is a priority. Our parents gave us all the love and kindness while we were growing up and shaped us into the people we are today. Aging is inevitable and as our parents’ age, our role as children is to help them age independently and gracefully. Even the simplest of gestures will make an impact and help boost their morale.
Here are some of the ways we can assist our elderly loved ones if they decide to keep their independence and live alone:
Find Out Your Parents’ Needs and Wishes
First of all, your parents have to be the ones to make the decision of living alone. No one wants to feel pressured into making a decision they are not comfortable with. So, if your parents decide to age gracefully at home, it is up to you to respect their decision. Older people feel like they are a burden to their kids if they come to live with them. That is why the majority of them decide to live alone. Some decide to join a retirement community so they can be among other seniors. Either way, it is up to us to respect their decision and just try to support them in many other ways. Our support is invaluable to them as they are faced with the fragility that comes with advancing years.
Grocery shopping is one of the activities your parents might enjoy pretty much. It can be part of their daily routine to walk or ride a bike to the nearest shop. It is an opportunity for them to socialize, meet someone they know and be in the loop of things. However, if going out and about is a tiresome activity, they can rely on online shopping and have everything delivered to their door. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is essential for their health. In addition to getting basic groceries delivered, they can also have their medicines delivered in just a few clicks. By giving them an opportunity to learn how to grocery shop online, you will show your parents that you believe in their independence.
On the other hand, if your parents feel like online shopping is too complicated, you can always place the orders for them. You can arrange daily or weekly drop-offs to their address.
Teach Your Elderly Loved Ones How to Use Modern Technology
If your parents are reluctant to use modern technology, it might be due to the fact that they don’t know-how. Yes, you can place online deliveries for them, and it is not a burden at all. But, they will be even more independent and less lonely if they know how to Google stuff, use social media and even play online games with other seniors.
So, it is up to us, the children, to introduce the modern tech into their lives. Firstly, it will give you an opportunity to check on them whenever you feel like. If your parent knows how to Skype or use facetime, you can talk to them during your office or lunch break. Secondly, teaching them to use social media will open an entirely new world for them where boredom does not exist. Once they learn how to sign up for social media platforms, they will even be intrigued by the possibility of technology and will want to explore everything.
Turn their home into a safe place
There are many home adjustments you can implement to make their life easier, safer and more pleasant. Start by removing the unnecessary clutter as an older person can easily trip over them and fall. Check the entire house for loose railing, unsecured parts or sliding carpets. This will prevent your loved ones from falling and hurting themselves. Installing bathroom railing is a must!
Secondly, make sure the entire house is properly lighted as those with impaired vision need enough light to avoid potentially hazardous situations. You should also consider installing a motion sensor as it will make moving around much easier because the lights will turn on without pressing the switch.
Another thing that will be a valuable addition is the medical alert system. Personal mobile alarms available at National Health Australia have an emergency button which can be pressed in the case of an emergency. This device has a fall detector which is of great importance in case of a fall. It will signal a call to 911 and alert any designated emergency contact for immediate response. It is worn as a pendant around the neck or around the wrist. This practical device gives new meaning to elderly independence for healthy ageing.
Maintain Frequent Contact
Your parents need to know that they are not alone. Maintaining frequent contact is better than any call, a text or a skype session. Try to check on them daily in the morning and once in the evening. Schedule weekly gathering and interesting activities. You can take them shopping, or just on a lovely afternoon stroll. Plan outings and short trips together on a monthly basis. These moments of togetherness will strengthen the emotional bond and create some lovely memories.
The freedom of living independently plays an important role in healthy ageing. If a loved one wants to live alone even when they reach old age, it is up to us to support them. There are many things we can do to support their decision and make them feel safe, loved, and taken care of.