As our parents begin to age, they may begin to find it harder to care for themselves in their own homes without help. When this happens, there are several options. Some people choose to move their parents into a retirement community or into their own homes, while others try to find ways for their parents to remain as independent as possible without having to move elsewhere.
Image – free for commercial use
If your parents want to stay in their own homes, whether with home care assistance from professionals or you or independently, there are some important factors to consider.
If your parents are taking any medication, it’s important that they are able to manage this. Do they remember to take the correct amount at the correct time? If you aren’t sure, there are signs you can look for. When you visit, check their cabinets for medicines that have expired, or are being kept in different spaces with no apparent system. Have they been made ill by missed or multiple doses?
Are your parents still able to cook for themselves and manage to make balanced meals? Are they able to safely use their kitchen appliances? Look out for missed meals, or kitchen mishaps like leaving the oven on, or forgetting a meal has been left in the microwave.
Safety And Mobility
Look out for signs that your parents are having trouble navigating around their home. Have they had any falls? Do they have a plan in place for getting help if there is an emergency? You can equip their home with devices like emergency alarms, grab bars, and other items to make getting around easier and getting help much faster.
It’s important that your parents are still able to bathe themselves, get dressed and properly launder their clothes and linens. If you notice that they appear more unkempt than before, or soiled clothing or noticeable odour than this suggests that they are no longer willing or able to care for themselves.
If you have elderly patients who are still driving, make sure they are definitely still safe behind the wheel. If they aren’t driving, do they have access to alternative transport to get to doctors appointments or fetch shopping? This could be using public transport, taxis, or getting lifts with friends or family.
For older people living alone, loneliness and isolation can easily become a major problem. Does your parent spend a lot of time indoors, alone? Do they have friends? Are they people to get out to socialise, or do they get plenty of visitors to their home? Watch out for signs of depression.
Are they still able to manage their home? When you visit, take a look around to make sure things are being kept clean. Pay special attention to bathrooms and kitchens. Look out for disarray, new stains, or spoiled food in the fridge.
Assistance in the home can help with home management, hygiene and transport, helping your parent to live in their own home for longer and maintain dignity and independence.