As your parents get older, you may have noticed some of the results of aging. Perhaps they have a bit more difficulty getting around or they might forget to pay a bill. Your parents are healthy enough to continue living on their own, but you worry that life will only become more difficult for them with each passing year.
You love your parents and want what is best for them. How do you help them retain their independence but also make life as easy as possible for them?
Below are four tips that can help you create easy solutions for age-related difficulties, while still allowing your parents to live their own lives and make their own decisions. Check them out!
1. Prepare Your Parents’ Home
Aches, pains, and other issues can make it harder for your parents to navigate their home, especially as they get older and face age-related health problems. They will be able to be more independent if their house is a safe place that they can easily move around in.
You may need to make a few adjustments around the home to ensure that your parents can navigate stairs, bathrooms, and other areas. A few of the most common home renovation projects for aging adults include:
- Bathroom renovations, including walk-in tubs and showers, bathtub and wall railings, and shower benches.
- Stairs helps, like ramps, residential elevators, and stair lifts, which will take your parents up and down stairs safely.
- Accessibility renovations, usually around exterior doors and beds. These renovations can include wheelchair and ceiling lifts.
- Emergency aids, including push buttons in case of a fall and rewired phone lines for easy access.
All things considered, there are many things you can do to create a safe home that will allow your parents to live independently. As you begin to create a plan for renovations, try the following three steps:
- Talk to your parents. What do they want? What would they find helpful? Recognize that it may be difficult for your parents to admit that they need help, so be patient as you discuss various options.
- Pay attention. If you’re watching for them, you may begin to notice certain tasks that are difficult for your parents, like standing for longer than 10 minutes while preparing dinner or climbing the stairs.
- Consult with a professional. Renovation contractors who specialize in creating safe homes for the elderly can help you create a plan that will meet your parents’ needs.
Maintaining a normal, independent lifestyle is important to aging people’s self-esteem and general health. A few home renovations can help your parents stay safe and independent in their own home, while also helping them move around comfortably.
2. Have Essentials Delivered
Driving, leaving the house, and shopping for hours at a time may become more difficult for your parents as they get older. One way to alleviate this problem is to have groceries and other essentials delivered straight to their home.
Your parents might feel comfortable using the Internet or learning to use a few Internet sites. Online grocery shopping is a great option that will allow your parents to choose healthy foods they need in their diet. It also ensures that they don’t have to leave home every time they need something at the grocery store.
You can also find online pick-up and delivery laundry services, and your pharmacy may provide a delivery system for medications. Sit down with your parents and make a list of errands they need to run regularly, and see if you can’t eliminate some of those trips by having things delivered.
3. Be Aware of Medical Needs
You want your parents to be independent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help, especially when health concerns arise. Communicate with your parents’ doctors and pharmacist so you understand how often your parents’ should visit the doctor, take medications, and exercise.
Encourage your parents to do everything they can to stay healthy. As they grow older, you may need to take a more proactive approach to medications and other health concerns. But while your parents are able to live independently, simply encourage them to live as healthily as possible.
4. Handle Emotional Needs Sensitively
Growing older can be difficult, and your parents may struggle as they make lifestyle adjustments to accommodate their declining health. One of the best ways you can support your parents during this transition is to be aware of their emotional needs.
As your parents retire and settle into the quieter rhythm of growing older, they will likely need more companionship than they have in the past. Make an effort to visit often and call frequently. If you have kids, allow your parents to be as involved with their grandkids as much as possible, and give them lots of opportunity to interact.
Recognize that your parents might struggle to communicate what they need or might be a bit stubborn about admitting that they need help. Try to be compassionate, patient, and loving as you try to make their lives easier.
Contact your home renovation contractor and others to begin preparing your parents for their older years. Don’t worry—your parents can lead a rich, happy, independent lifestyle with your help.