Tag Archives: aging in place

What You Can Do To Help Aging Relatives Remain In Their Home

Regardless of how old or frail your parents are, it’s a difficult transition to make from them being the caretaker to becoming the care recipient. Just as it may be uncomfortable for you to jump into their lives and offer help, they may balk at the idea of having to give up independence and ask for assistance. One of the biggest fears most individuals have as they age is the idea of having to move out of their family home and into an assisted living facility.

There are steps you can take, along with your aging parents’ input, that may make it possible for them to remain independent in their home. The decision to age-in-place has many factors that need to be considered and there may be a time when it simply isn’t a feasible option, but until that time, here are some items to look into to help them stay at home and remain independent:

  • Check with social service agencies in your community to see what kind of services are available to your aging parents. You may also want to look into a geriatric care manager; these individuals work as a liaison between you and your aging relatives and some social service agencies. Ask your parents’ doctor for advice as well, on senior services.
  • Alter the home to make it more senior friendly. Add a home medical monitoring device and use a medical alert pendant for each individual in the home. These devices offer 24/7 peace of mind and provide a way for your aging relative to have immediate access to medical care in the event of a trip or fall accident or other health emergency. Install motion activated light switches, upgrade the bathroom and make certain there are non slip rugs on all floors and in the bathtub, move items throughout the house to a level that can be reached without having to step on a step stool.
  • Look into home meal delivery systems. Most areas have a Meals-on-Wheels service or something similar in nature.  This is generally available for those who are housebound and those seniors that are still mobile but who simply don’t want to cook meals every day of the week.
  • Check into shuttle services or transportation services for the elderly. These transportation providers can get your relatives to and from doctor’s visits, days out at a senior center where they can interact and socialize.
  • Check with the local library to see if it offers a book delivery service. This may be a great way to keep your aging relatives supplied with reading material or even books on tape.
  • Ask your aging parents what issues they feel they’re having in the home and look for products or service providers that can help address them.

Keep your aging relatives involved with family events by inviting them to parties, dinners out and making certain you stop by to visit on a regular basis.

Understanding Why Your Relatives Want To Age At Home

You may sometimes wonder why your aging loved ones are being “stubborn” when it comes to wanting to age inplace. When you consider the options available to your relatives as they age it simply seems easier to move them to assisted living than take care of the maintenance and upkeep on the family home. Many assisted living communities offer a space for home-cooked meals, both on-site and off-site activities, day trips and other luxuries and amenities that aren’t available to many people who are living in their own home.

In some cases, it may be difficult to convince your parents that moving into an assisted living facility is a great decision. If you feel strongly that they need to move to a facility with full-time care, consider these five reasons why your elderly loved ones may want to remain in their own homes:

  1. There truly is no place like home. Many people, especially the elderly, have a hard time with change and uprooting their lives from a home that they’ve lived in for decades. They’re comfortable in their own home and it’s a difficult change. They may have dreamed of turning the home over to the children.
  2. If they’re involved in the community, they may be afraid they’ll lose touch. If your parents have lived in one place for many years, they’ve likely developed friendships with neighbors and even with those who work at the local grocery stores.
  3. They may fear loss of freedom. Many individuals believe that if they move into an assisted living facility that they will have to give up all of their personal freedoms. Sleeping, eating and personal entertainment patterns are different for every person, and your aging relatives can maintain those even if they move into an assisted living facility.
  4. Personalized care can be brought into the home. You can certainly hire a home healthcare aide to come in and visit with your relatives and make certain they are being well taken care of. If you hire an aide to come to the house, they may feel they’re getting more personalized care than they would if they went to a facility.
  5. Technology makes aging in place more of a possibility. When you consider the cast resources available to seniors, staying in the family home seems more plausible.
  6. You can equip your parent’s house with a home medical monitoring system and a medical alert bracelet or pendant to make staying in the family home more viable. A home medical alert system offers peace of mind for both you and your parents.

Work with your parents and see if you can come to a compromise as it relates to aging in place.

Steps To Help Your Aging Relative Feel Young

As your parents age you may notice they don’t remember things as well as they used to and it is worrisome to think of them living alone. If your parents are suffering memory lapses it is quite possible they could turn on a stove, for example, and forget to turn it off. Trips and falls in the home are also a concern as your parents get older. There are many ways to deal with health issues and to make your parent’s home more senior-friendly; from age-proofing by removing trip and fall hazards to make the home more senior-friendly, to equipping it with a medical alert system, here are some ways you can work

with your parents to help them stay active, healthy and in good spirits:

  1. Develop new, better habits: As your parents age it is easy for them to fall into bad habits such as not brushing their teeth as often as they used to, not taking their vitamins or even neglecting personal hygiene. Make certain your parents are keeping up with their hygiene and that they’re not relying on take out foods or other junk food because they don’t want to be bothered with cooking. If cooking is becoming problematic for them, look into services in your community such as Meals-0n-Wheels. Remind them that their health is important.
  2. Lifelong learning: Urge your parents to get involved in community learning activities. Many communities offer free or low cost classes at senior centers or community colleges. Stimulating the mind will help improve memory and boost self-confidence.
  3. Laughter truly is the best medicine: Whether it’s watching funny movies, seeing a play or just visiting with friends or family, laughter will help improve memory, lower stress and blood pressure and can even protect against infection.
  4. Regular exercise is crucial: Even if your parents are housebound because of the weather, they can still get up and move around the house. A walk up and down the hallways is better than sitting on the couch all the time. Ask their doctor about exercise equipment they could purchase to help them stretch and get some cardiovascular activities while they’re at home.
  5. Friendship matters: Whether your parents are members of a church or attend classes or even go out for coffee on a regular basis, they should try to keep in touch with friends or even their siblings. Studies show that having six hours a day of social interaction helps people retain their mental acuity.

In addition to the above tips, your parents should stick to regular sleep routines even though they may need less sleep as they age, getting a full night’s sleep is crucial to good health. Keep in mind that your parents may feel more confident with moving around the house and living alone if they are equipped with a medical alert system. These devices offer both you and them peace of mind that if they suffer a fall or a medical emergency that medical help will be dispatched.

Host A Family Meeting To Make Elder Care Decisions

Making tough decisions on the health and welfare of your aging parents is difficult. You may want to gather all family members who will be impacted by the decision and have a family meeting. While it’s true that geography may make the logistics of this difficult, consider gathering family that lives local and hosting a web cam chat with those that are not geographically local.

Having a network of concerned family members might make the decision-making process easier. If you find that your aging parents are facing specific health issues it is best to share information and share thoughts in a group setting. In some cases, there may be a family member or two that is bearing the burden of caring for the aging relative and they may simply need help in the care-giving tasks. Caring for an aging relative is never an easy task and you’ll find that holding a caregiver/family meeting can improve the situation.

Invite family members that will be directly impacted by decisions made on behalf of your aging relatives – whether monetarily or through increased care-giving roles. While you may think it’s easier and likely more comfortable to exclude the aging relative from the conversation, you should gather their input and make them feel part of the solution. You may be surprised to find out that what you think is important and of concern is vastly different from their perspective!

The professional caregiver or another individual who interacts with the aging relatives on a daily basis should also be present for the meeting.  If your relatives are heavily involved in their church or other organization there may be a friend or two that know your loved one well and should be included in the meeting.  Ensuring you have all the appropriate people at the meeting can help make the decision-making process more effective.

 What’s the meeting about?

Now that you’ve planned a meeting, what will you talk about? You should first appoint one family member as the meeting organizer and another to take notes. Start by asking your parents what issues they feel they are facing. For example:

  • Are they scared to live alone?
  • Are they afraid of falling or worried about failing health issues and what that might mean to them?
  • Are they worried that their home is no longer suited to their needs?
  • Are they worried about tripping or falling in their home or yard?
  • Are they worried about their medical conditions?

These are just a few of the concerns your loved one might have.

Once you’ve listened to your aging relative’s concerns you can address them one by one. For example:

  • Consider outside agencies to provide assistance such as a Meals-on-Wheels, a housekeeper or an in-home medical professional.
  • Gather the family to make the home safer by removing trip and fall obstacles?
  • Evaluate the cost and benefits of renovating the bathroom, shower and kitchen to make it more senior-friendly?
  • Install motion sensors or lights that operate dusk to dawn to light the exterior of the home.
  • Add nightlights the home to illuminate the interior of the home.
  • Research a security system to be installed in the home to make them feel safer?
  • Equip your love one with a home medical alert system so they have 24/7 access to emergency care.

Following the meeting make certain that the action steps that were discussed are actually implemented. Keep in touch with your loved ones via telephone or face to face visits to check on their health and well-being. Preparation and prevention are two of the most vital steps in alleviating fears and providing safety for your loved ones.

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Safety Tips For The Elderly While Aging-At-Home

Senior citizens pose unique safety concerns for their loved ones and family members, especially as they have the desire to age at home. In addition to family members worrying about their aging parents suffering a fall or other medical emergency, there are home security issues that may need to be addressed. Savvy family members understand the importance of equipping their aging parents’ home with a home medical monitoring system. Your aging parent will wear a medical alert pendant and with the touch of a button, in the event of a medical emergency or fall, all he or she has to do is push the button and the emergency responders at LifeFone initiate contact and alert emergency medical personnel or loved ones.

Research shows that as you age, the risk of becoming a victim of a physical assault decreases, but there are other crimes that befall the elderly and criminals that perpetrate them. Senior citizens are at just as vulnerable to a home break in and will likely be unable to protect themselves in that situation. There are also financial crimes that befall the elderly – those are perpetrated through unscrupulous individuals offering to provide home improvement services at higher than typical rates with shoddy goods. There are also new threats to the financial security of the elderly in the form of people calling and pretending to be a faily member in need of financial assistance who then asks for their bank account information. Because the elderly are typically considered to be more financially secure they are usually at a higher risk for financial scams.

When you consider that your aging parents grew up in an era when it wasn’t polite to be rude they are also more trusting of strangers and less likely to hang up in the midst of a phone conversation with a stranger. While financial crimes are scary for anyone, they are more devastating for the elderly who may become fearful of living alone and there is the worry by family members that their elderly loved one might not be able to handle their own affairs. If your aging parents are making an attempt to remain independent as long as possible, becoming a victim of a crime can be emotionally crushing.

To help your aging relative remain safe at home as long as possible, here are some steps you can take in addition to equipping their home with a home medical alert system:

  • Install a home alarm system
  • Add motion detectors outside of the home as well as automatic lights
  • Trim all bushes that are close to the house
  • Don’t keep additional keys under the welcome mat
  • Install deadbolts and locks on windows
  • Advise your elderly loved one to never allow a stranger into the home
  • Make certain they never give any bank account, birthdates or social security numbers out over the phone
  • Tell them to not get talked into home repair scams by door-to-door salesmen
  • Make certain they keep their doors locked even during the day when they’re home

Taking these few precautions and offering common sense safety advice to your aging relatives, along with a home medical monitoring system, will allow them to remain independent and age at home.

Age At Home Or Move To Assisted Living?

Families across the country struggle to make decisions that will best suit their aging parents’ needs and provide a living arrangement that is safe and comfortable. Seniors naturally want to age in place and stay in their own homes for as long as possible. For the most part, the children of aging parents attempt to comply with their parents’ wishes but there comes a time when adult children have to take the reins and “parent their parents” and it is by no means an easy task.

Is it possible for your parents to remain living independently? Is it a feasible option or have health issues arisen making living at home an impossible situation?

There are many times when family members feel they’re walking a tightrope when it comes to letting their parents’ age in place but when a situation arises that makes that option no longer viable, decisions need to be made. The health and safety of the seniors in your life always has to remain the number one concern.

When your family realizes that decisions need to be made about your loved one’s living situation, consider these questions as a way to guide your decision on whether aging in place is possible.

  • What do your loved ones wish to do and where do they want to live?
  • Have you given the home a once-over to make certain it is as safe as it can be?
  • Do you have a family member that could move in with them to help with daily care?
  • Have you looked into support services such as equipping the home with a LifeFone medical alert system? With this system, your aging loved one will wear a medical alert pendant. In the event of a medical emergency or a fall, he or she needs to simply push the button and emergency medical help will be dispatched.
  • Would your parents benefit from having meals delivered to their home? Could you hire someone to come to the home once or twice a week to cook meals and do light housekeeping?
  • Are they reaching the stage of their lives when they could benefit from round-the-clock medical care or from the services offered in an assisted living apartment complex?
  • Are there community services available to help them out?

Once you’ve reviewed the questions above and determined that your loved one is capable of aging in place, you can prioritize tasks.

The decision to move an aging parent into an assisted living facility is a more difficult one. If your loved one has serious medical issues and you can’t afford both housing costs, regular expense AND daily in home care, it may be time to consider an assisted living facility or senior community. Perhaps all family members live out of town making it difficult at best to visit daily or attend medical appointments with them. If your loved one is feeble and weak, has medical issues that need round-the-clock help or is incapable of caring for themselves, it’s time to consider moving your loved one out of their home.

If your loved one is mentally alert and involved in the decision, the move to assisted living and care will be much easier. On the other hand, if your loved one isn’t involved or objects this decision, can leave family members feeling guilt-ridden. While it can be tough to avoid feelings of guilt, remember that you’re providing the best care option and accept that you are doing the right thing.

Programs and Devices To Help Individuals Age At Home

Age At Home Or Move To Assisted Living?

Families across the country struggle to make decisions that will best suit their aging parents’ needs and provide a living arrangement that is safe and comfortable. Seniors naturally want to age in place and stay in their own homes for as long as possible. For the most part, the children of aging parents attempt to comply with their parents’ wishes but there comes a time when adult children have to take the reins and “parent their parents” and it is by no means an easy task.

Is it possible for your parents to remain living independently? Is it a feasible option or have health issues arisen making living at home an impossible situation?

There are many times when family members feel they’re walking a tightrope when it comes to letting their parents’ age in place but when a situation arises that makes that option no longer viable, decisions need to be made. The health and safety of the seniors in your life always has to remain the number one concern.

When your family realizes that decisions need to be made about your loved one’s living situation, consider these questions as a way to guide your decision on whether aging in place is possible.

  • What do your loved ones wish to do and where do they want to live?
  • Have you given the home a once-over to make certain it is as safe as it can be?
  • Do you have a family member that could move in with them to help with daily care?
  • Have you looked into support services such as equipping the home with a LifeFone medical alert system? With this system, your aging loved one will wear a medical alert pendant. In the event of a medical emergency or a fall, he or she needs to simply push the button and emergency medical help will be dispatched.
  • Would your parents benefit from having meals delivered to their home? Could you hire someone to come to the home once or twice a week to cook meals and do light housekeeping?
  • Are they reaching the stage of their lives when they could benefit from round-the-clock medical care or from the services offered in an assisted living apartment complex?
  • Are there community services available to help them out?

Once you’ve reviewed the questions above and determined that your loved one is capable of aging in place, you can prioritize tasks.

The decision to move an aging parent into an assisted living facility is a more difficult one. If your loved one has serious medical issues and you can’t afford both housing costs, regular expense AND daily in home care, it may be time to consider an assisted living facility or senior community. Perhaps all family members live out of town making it difficult at best to visit daily or attend medical appointments with them. If your loved one is feeble and weak, has medical issues that need round-the-clock help or is incapable of caring for themselves, it’s time to consider moving your loved one out of their home.

If your loved one is mentally alert and involved in the decision, the move to assisted living and care will be much easier. On the other hand, if your loved one isn’t involved or objects this decision, can leave family members feeling guilt-ridden. While it can be tough to avoid feelings of guilt, remember that you’re providing the best care option and accept that you are doing the right thing.

Programs and Devices To Help Individuals Age At Home

Bathroom Hazards to Address; Aging In Place Seniors

Regardless of whether you’re young or old, the bathroom is typically one of the most dangerous rooms in the house. The danger does rise as the individual ages because the bathroom is typically a very small space that is prone to slippery floors and surfaces. Individuals aged 65 and older are one-third more likely than the rest of the population to suffer a slip and fall injury.

The bathroom can be retrofitted to make it safer and more accommodating to the limited mobility that seniors face. Here are several items to address when looking to make the family home more welcoming to the aging individuals’ needs.

  • Grab bars and hand rails: Grab bars should be installed in and around the bathtub/shower area. You may also want to install one near the toilet. If the aging relative has a difficult time going from a sitting to a standing position, consider installing a raised-seat for the toilet.
  • Non-skid surfaces: Bathtubs and showers should be equipped with a nonslip surface, regardless of the age of the person who uses it. There should also be a rug with non-slip backing to prevent falls when moving around the bathroom and getting in and out of the tub and shower. Loose rugs throughout the house should either be tacked down or retrofitted with non-slip backing.
  • Bathtub seating: In addition to grab bars, consider installing a bathtub chair for use by the aging individual. You can either set up a bathtub bench or install a chair for use in the shower. If your aging parent has a difficult time getting in and out of the bathtub itself, you may need to retrofit the tub with a shower stall or a tub with a minimal sized curb for them to step over.
  • Light it up: The bathroom, and every other room of the home, should be well it. Upgrade to higher wattage bulbs, install night lights in darkened hallways, put up touch lamp type fixtures in other areas as a handy way to light a dark staircase or hallway. Install night lights that turn on and off when the ambient light waxes and wanes.
  • Keep it close: Moving items to easy-to-reach shelves to remove any need for climbing on step stools is one way to help the senior. Switching from glassware for drinking cups, coffee mugs and dinner plates to plastic can remove the potential for cuts if the items fall from their hands to the floor.

Taking these steps to make the home more accommodating to the family member as he or she ages may allow him or her to stay in the home and age in place, a trend that is being embraced by more individuals. Don’t forget, that as your loved ones age, you will want to talk to them about the possibility of having a home medical alert device installed. With this equipment, the elderly individual wears a medical alert device such as a bracelet or pendant and if they suffer a fall or other medical emergency, at the push of a button, help is summoned. These devices, available for less than a dollar a day at LifeFone, offer peace of mind to both the elderly and their family.

5 Tips To Aid In Planning For Aging At Home

As many Baby Boomers are discovering, caring for aging parents is not an easy undertaking. This is due in part to aging relatives who are unwilling or unable to age gracefully, either because they ignore it or refuse to make changes to accommodate their aging. Regardless of how healthy and in-shape your parents may have been in their younger years, they need to understand that the aging process affects everyone and changes need to be made to take this process into consideration.

Some items that seniors and their caregivers may not think of when it comes to aging – but that they should address before concerns arise are as follows:

  1. Denying that aging is happening and that changes need to be made. Many seniors overlook or neglect health problems simply because they don’t want to think that they are having these problems as they are  getting older. Many seniors will put off going to the doctor until a condition has gone beyond a simple doctor’s visit and escalated to the hospitalization stage. If you see your aging relatives’ health conditions deteriorating, you need to be proactive and have a family meeting if necessary to help them face the issues.
  2. No prior planning for an eventual health care issue. Denial is common when it comes to the potential for health care needs and emergencies arising as we age. You need to work with your aging relatives to take steps to have plans and procedures in place for when an emergency arises. One of the best steps you can take is have a home medical alert system put in place. These systems – in which your relative will wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant – offer round the clock access to a service that will be dispatched in the event of a fall or other health crisis. Once the button is pressed, customer service representatives from LifeFone put their training into action and offer assistance to the patient through placing a phone call, talking to the individual and if they don’t answer the phone, emergency medical personnel is dispatched to provide assistance.
  3. Refusal to ask for help. Your parents have always been the ones to provide help and assistance to you – their child, regardless of how old you are – it is difficult for them to admit that the tables have been turned and they now need help. You need to assure them that you’re there to offer support and that your concern for their health is the utmost concern.
  4. Being unaware of the service providers that are available. Until you need a home medical alert system such as LifeFone, chances are you never gave it a thought. A home medical alert system allows your relative to age in place – something that is very important to many aging adults – as it provides 24 hour a day peace of mind knowing that when you’re not there, your parent is being monitored and at the push of a button assistance will be dispatched. Looking into hiring a home healthcare aide is also something to consider if no relatives live close enough to stop in and help out at least once a week. Errands, grocery shopping, cooking meals and other items can be taken care of by a home healthcare aide.
  5. Giving up all they’ve worked for. Because your parents worked for years to put a roof of their family’s heads, home ownership is a source of pride. Couple that with the fact that downsizing is difficult and people want to hold onto cherished items, and the idea of moving out of the family home and into a smaller one or an assisted living facility is not something your aging parents will likely embrace. Individuals want to keep their homes and might be unaware of the options available to help them do that. Researching the installation of home medical alert equipment and retaining the services of a home healthcare worker in the event no family member can take on the responsibility may offer the seniors in your life the option to age at home.

Being armed with options and having facts and figures at hand before you and your siblings approach your aging parents to discuss their plans as they age can help you make informed decisions that will be in the best interests of all involved.

How Can Your Loved One Stay at Home as They Age?

As our loved ones begin to age, they are inevitably faced with this perplexing question: How can they remain in the comfort and familiarity of their own home without jeopardizing their health or safety? Adult-proofing one’s home is an obvious first step, but what exactly does that entail?

  1. The first thing the elderly should invest in is a personal emergency response system. Medical alerts lend themselves well to providing both you and your loved one peace of mind, given the fact that your loved one has an emergency response button located on his or her body in the form of a bracelet or necklace. When emergency strikes, your loved one simply has to press the button and presto! help is on the way. With some medical alerts as low as $24.95 per month like LifeFone, purchasing a personal emergency response system is the perfect first step in insuring your loved one can remain in his or her home. Continue reading