The elderly prefer to age in place, surrounded by the comforts of home and the people they love. A 2018 study shows that 76% of adults aged 50 and older in the U.S. want to live out their days at home. With more and more baby boomers reaching retirement age, families need to learn how to support their desire to age in place while providing the care they need.
Strategies for Supporting Elderly Aging in Place
If you’re caring for an elderly loved one, you can do a few things to support their aging in place. Here are some strategies to get you started.
Create a Safe Home Environment
One of the most important things to consider when supporting elderly aging in place is the safety and accessibility of their home.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than one in four adults aged 65 and over falls each year. A fall can lead to a severe injury, such as a hip fracture, greatly reducing mobility and independence. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in this age group.
To help prevent falls, it is important to ensure there are no tripping hazards, such as rugs and clutter on the floor or uneven flooring. If an elderly individual does fall, it is crucial to ensure that they receive prompt medical attention.
Ensure a good light source throughout the home. In addition, mark all entryways and exits and install handrails on stairs and grab bars in the bathroom and kitchen. All doorways and corridors must be wide enough for walking aids and wheelchairs.
Empower Your Loved One with Technology
Thanks to advances in technology, many devices and systems can help the elderly stay safe and connected at home. For example, emergency call systems can summon help in the event of a fall or other accident. These systems usually consist of a device worn at all times, such as a pendant or bracelet. In an emergency, the user can simply press a button for help.
Motion sensors are another technology that you can use to improve safety at home. These sensors can detect when someone has fallen and automatically alert a caregiver or family member.
Smartwatches are also becoming increasingly popular among seniors. These devices can track activity levels, heart rate, and sleep patterns. They can also provide reminders for taking medications or scheduled appointments.
Voice-activated controls are another convenient way for seniors to interact with their surroundings. By simply speaking, they can turn on lights, adjust the thermostat, or play music.
These technologies can not only improve safety and quality of life for seniors but also give peace of mind to their families and caregivers. In addition, many of these devices are relatively affordable and easy to use, making them a great option for seniors who want to maintain their independence.
Provide Home Assistance
As people age, they often find it more difficult to take care of themselves. This can be due to decreased mobility, diminished eyesight, and weaker muscles. As a result, many older people require assistance with basic daily tasks such as hygiene, grooming, dressing, and cooking.
While family members can often provide some level of care, they may not be able to meet all the senior’s needs due to work or other obligations. In these cases, professional senior care at home can help to fill in the gaps.
Senior care providers are trained to help with a wide range of needs, from basic hygiene and dressing to more complex tasks like mobility assistance, meal preparation, and light housekeeping.
Professional senior care at home can be an invaluable resource for seniors and their families. Whether you need long-term care or just a little extra help during a difficult time, it can make all the difference.
Provide Personal Interactions
It is crucial to ensure that seniors are socially engaged. Isolation can be a significant risk factor for loneliness, depression, and mental decline.
One way to encourage socialization is by encouraging senior participation in community activities or groups. Many communities offer classes, support groups, volunteer opportunities, and other programs for the elderly.
Another way to encourage socialization is through technology-based interactions. For example, many seniors enjoy using Skype or FaceTime to connect with loved ones who live far away or have busy schedules. This can help them feel more connected while preserving their independence.
Caring for the Elderly with Respect
The elderly should be treated with respect at all times. That means giving them the space and independence they desire and providing help and support when needed. It also means listening to their stories and taking the time to learn about their lives.
The elderly have a lot of wisdom to share, and their experiences can teach the younger generation a great deal about life. By showing compassion and understanding, you can make their later years more comfortable and fulfilling.