Ask most people who are aging where they want to live out the rest of their life and they will be quick to tell you, "in my home." Few folks ever plan to leave their home as they get up in years, yet many end up doing so because someone has determined they can no longer live safely at home alone.
The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University reports that between now and 2035, the number of people over the age of 75 living alone will nearly double from 6.9 million to 13.4 million; the majority of whom will be women. With an increasing elderly population on the horizon, most of who desire to stay living at home, it is important to plan for the safety of our aging loved ones so they can achieve their goal of independence at home.
My first thought is to keep encouraging your loved one to stay fit and engaged in both healthy eating habits and an appropriate exercise routine. Notice I said routine ... consistency is the key to a healthy body.
Proper medication administration is also very important as one ages. There are several ways to address this issue. A pill organizer can be a good start. Your pharmacist may have some good suggestions as well. If there is any question as to whether or not medications are being taken as prescribed, then there is a problem - and you will need to fix it.
At some point driving may become a concern. Taking the car away from your loved one is never easy; but it beats the risk of a possible accident. Travel arrangements should always be considered when driving is restricted.
Safety in the home is paramount when living alone. You can hire a qualified professional to actually come to the house and perform a safety audit. This person will look for safety concerns such as poor electrical wiring, trip hazards, medication storage, fall risks and more. Periodic audits can be performed by family or friends once the initial audit is completed.
Important health information should be kept where safety personnel can find it when needed. It would also be a good idea to have an emergency call button / system installed so medical help can be summoned when the need arises. Products such as Life Alert and Lifeline are two good choices.
Help around the house with chores and activities of daily living (bathing, housekeeping, shopping, etc…) can be of real value. Professional caregivers can be hired for certain hours of the day to help cook, clean, run errands and be a comforting companion and friend. Use caregivers from a reputable company when possible. Each caregiver should be properly screened, trained and insured. Ongoing training in safety procedures, customer service and up-to-date caregiving techniques is the hallmark of an excellent caregiving agency.
The simple fact is most elders want to stay at home. Good planning with some additional home health care could be the answer you are looking for.
Live well my friends.
You can call DeLong at 912-531-7867 or email him at: SeniorMomentsWithRich@gmail.com