.Aging in place doesn’t just happen. Safe and healthy aging at home requires careful planning by older adults and their family members. Often, it also requires a move to a new house. This article contains advice for keeping your parents at home.
While most seniors want to age in place, few live in homes designed for the needs of aging residents. A spacious, multi-story home is great when you’re raising a family, but not when you’re living alone with reduced mobility.
For many, a condo is a safer choice. In a condo, aging adults retain the pride of homeownership, while children rest easy knowing their elderly parents won’t be out shoveling snow. However, moving to a low-maintenance home isn’t enough to keep aging parents safe, healthy and happy at home. If you want to help your parents retain a high quality of life into their later years, heed this advice.
Complete a Whole-Home Safety Assessment
Area rugs, cords trailing across the floor and low furniture are innocuous enough, but to a mobility-challenged senior, they’re serious safety hazards. It only takes once for an older adult to trip and fall and have their whole life changed. In fact, falls are the leading cause of accidental death among older adults. Use Interim HealthCare’s Home Safety Checklist to identify and eliminate fall hazards in your parents’ home.
Give the Gift of Better Sleep
Sleep problems are one of the most widespread issues facing older adults. Between pain, health conditions and sleep disorders, many seniors find sleep difficult. Many seniors can also be stubborn about replacing their years-old bed, thinking a new mattress won’t solve their sleep problems. But the truth is, it very well might.
As Mattress Advisor explains:
“The best mattresses for seniors have sufficient support to maintain neutral spine alignment, enough contouring to relieve pressure points (think heels, hips, shoulders), and some means for regulating body temperature.”
Replacing a mattress that aggravates aches and pains with something more comfortable dramatically improves sleep quality. However, it’s important to impress upon them that quantity of sleep matters too. Even when you’re older, you still need seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Ensure Good Nutrition
In old age, good nutrition is more important than ever. However, seniors face many obstacles to a healthy diet, like an impaired sense of taste and smell. Mobility also presents challenges that make grocery shopping difficult.
Family members can take the work out of eating healthy by arranging for nutritious, easy-to-prepare meals to be delivered to their loved one’s door. Whether a Meals on Wheels program, a subscription such as Blue Apron or groceries delivered from a nearby store, there are a variety of ways to ease the burden associated with maintaining a healthy diet.
Turn to Technological Solutions
If you’re far away and can’t stop worrying about your parents’ well-being, technology can help. Some tech solutions have been on the market for a long time including wearable medical alerts. Others, such as smart home technology and home activity sensors, are new on the scene but offer promise for keeping seniors safer for longer.
Whether you want to remind your parents to take their medications without calling three times a day, make it easy for them to turn on lights and lock the doors, or collect health data to help manage a chronic condition, there’s are a large number of tech solutions available to lend you a hand.
Hire In-Home Help
It may seem like sending your parents to live in a senior living facility would be the best option, but that’s not always the case. Not only is assisted living more expensive than aging in place, but underpaid and overworked staff can lead to low-quality care.
In fact, Forbes reports that, on average, assisted living residents only receive about 12 minutes of nursing care and two hours of personal care each day. If your parents need an extra hand, consider hiring in-home help for reduced cost and increased control over the care your loved one receives.
Moving is the first step for safe aging in place, but it’s not all it takes. By adopting an active role in your parents’ health and safety, you enable your parents to remain independent throughout their senior years. While it may take a little more work, it has a massive impact on your parents’ quality of life.