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Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

4 Ways To Help Elderly Loved Ones Age Independently

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Nov 8, 2017 2:19 AM

As parents and grandparents begin to age, it can be difficult to handle for both them and us. We want to help them, and they want to do things for themselves. How can both of those things happen?

There are ways you can ensure that your loved ones can age independently, while still easing your mind that you've helped them and ensured their safety. Here are 4 of those ways.

Do a home safety check

Stairs, slippery bathtubs, old wiring that could spark a fire, and things on high shelves are just a few of the potential dangers your loved one could face. Go through the home and look for ways to make things safer. Consider asking them to move to a bedroom on the main floor, and move laundry rooms from the basement to ensure they don't have to climb stairs. Put down safety strips in a slippery bathtub, and move things on high shelves to more accessible areas. If they live in an older home, have the major systems checked out to ensure there are no problems.

Provide them with the most mobility possible

Arthritis, old injuries, and other things can cause our loved ones to have difficulty moving about. Getting up, sitting down, using the bathroom, taking a shower, or even simply walking can feel like a chore. Consider the use of companies to outfit your loved one with all the things they might need to increase their mobility. From wheelchairs and walkers, to specialized toilets and bathtubs lifts, there's a piece of equipment that can assist your loved ones with almost every situation in which they might need to be mobile and not want to rely on your assistance.

Deliver the goods

Often, the elderly begin to rely on meals that are simple and convenient. But simple and convenient often means foods like yogurt, frozen dinners, frozen pizzas, or canned soup. While these meals might be okay now and then, they're not a complete, healthy diet when they're the only foods your loved one eats.

But getting to the store and shopping for themselves might be more than they can handle. And shopping with or for them might be something you're unable to commit the time to. Which is why the development of various online shopping options is a huge benefit to your loved one.

Whether it's a well-known, nationwide site like Amazon, or a small, local grocery store, there are plenty of options for grocery shopping online and having the order delivered right to your loved one's door. Pantry goods, like soups and cereal, are options, but so are things like eggs, dairy, meat, and produce. Your loved one can choose from a wide assortment of healthy, delicious, fresh foods that will improve their nutrition, increase their energy, and make them feel good. You can shop for them, or they can shop for themselves from a laptop, phone or tablet.

Push technology

When your loved one is living alone, there are some serious concerns about safety and loneliness. Fear that they might fall and be unable to rise on their own, or that they might get depressed spending so many hours a day by themselves can haunt you.

Push various forms of technology on your loved one. Persuade them to get some kind of emergency alert system, so that if they fall or are otherwise injured while alone, they can easily call for help.

If they don't already have one, consider getting them a laptop or a cell phone, as well. Load the device up with games, apps, and websites that they can use to engage their brain, interact with others, and simply have something to do. There are plenty of games for phones that mimic games like Scrabble, crosswords or word searches, chess or checkers, if they prefer old school games. Set them up on Facebook so they can keep in touch with younger relatives. The more interaction they have, even if it is online, the more connected they will feel.

Your loved one can age gracefully, and independently, at home. They just need a little help from you, and some confidence.

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