How to help elderly parents

October 2017

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As parents get older, it can be difficult to watch them struggle with tasks that were once done so easily. Whether you live close by or some distance from your parents, there are lots of ways they can be aided, often ways they won’t even think about as sometimes they can be unwilling to accept their limitations.

As technology advances, there are lots of ways to keep older adults mobile and connected as well as helping them avoid loneliness. Spending time taking your parents through these technologies ensures they are used to their full potential and are not left in their box.

Invest in lighter appliances

The jobs that older adults might find difficult may be due to limited strength or mobility. Buying lighters or more nimble appliances can do much to ease this.

Dishwashers

If parents are struggling with washing dishes or loading a traditional dishwasher, a counter top dishwasher might be an effective solution. Smaller than the standard dishwasher, these are perfect for those who do not have enough dishes to fill the dishwasher every day. They are also placed on counters and thus take out the need to bend down to load them, which helps lessen the stress this puts on joints.

Hoovers

If your parents are still using a weighty old hoover, it can make cleaning difficult as they may lack the strength to use it effectively. Investing in a light, cordless alternative will reduce the amount of bending involved as well as the weight that has to be pushed about. There are lots of sites that review the best hoovers and this article from Trusted Review has a simple scoring system.

Cookware

While a pan may not feel heavy when empty, when filled with boiling water and potatoes, moving it to the sink to drain can seem impossible especially for those who struggle with joint pain. Investing in lightweight cookware for your parents is one way to ensure they remain independent and are not in pain from the simple task of cooking dinner. Finding lightweight pans can be difficult and it is best to shop around with your parents to let them feel the equipment and test the weight.

Consider extra help

If you live far away from your parents or have constraints that do not allow you to be as hands-on as you may like, consider delegation. A cleaning service once a week will ease the burden on your parents, or if they have land, consider a gardener to keep the lawns in check.

If your parents need hands-on care, a home nurse service could be worth considering. This will ease the burden on one parent if they are acting as the caregiver. If they are just in need of a little companionship, there are lots of charities that offer buddy services or weekly meetups.

Install Facilities

If your parents are determined to remain independent you should look at how their house can be adapted. Though they may have wonderful health and mobility at the moment, you should check to see if their property is suitably accessible. A straight or curved stairlift will render all floors accessible and many modern stairlifts are quite compact.

Bathrooms are a place where many falls and slips occur. Manoeuvring in and out of the bath or shower with wet surfaces can be dangerous and as people get older falls can be more serious. Adding an anti-slip bathmat is a helpful solution that will prevent any slips while in the bath. Opting for a wooden raised bathmat instead of fabric removes the chance of slips outside the tub.

Extra lighting is often necessary for houses with older adults. One consequence of getting older is poorer eyesight. If their home is often in shade it can lead to a higher likelihood of falls. Which? has a great guide for light bulbs that breaks down the brightness, efficiency and type of bulb. LED’s and CFL (standard energy saving bulbs) are the cheapest in the long run and have comparable output in light, they are worth investing in.

Get them a pet

If your parents need the motivation to keep mobile, a dog may be the perfect pet. Not only do they offer companionship but they will need a couple of walks a day. Choosing the right breed is essential to a pet being a successful addition to the household. Steer clear of high-energy hounds and opt instead for a smaller low maintenance breed. Vetstreet has a great guide if you are looking to do some research.

Some people prefer cats to dogs and though they may not keep you active they offer a lot of companionship. Loneliness can be a problem in older adults and having a pet to nurture is a wonderful focus.

Consider moving

If your parents live in an unsuitable property or an isolated area, it may be time to consider moving. Though this may seem like an extreme response, you have to consider multiple factors.

Driving

If their driving is safe and does not cause them anxiety, this does not mean it will not deteriorate in the future. Relying on public transport can be difficult if they live in the countryside and being close to town amenities can make all the difference. Whether they need to attend a doctor’s appointment or wish to keep up an active social life, not relying on bus timetables will make life easier.

Size

Regardless of extra help or lighter appliances, some people find their previous home too much upkeep. Your parents may not need that much space and though it is nice to remain in the family home, the cost of upkeep can be draining. Choosing a smaller and more efficient property may mean they spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying their older age.

Support network

If your parents live in an isolated area, they may benefit from being close to a support network. Family and friends can help out in times of need if they are closer but can also provide company. Your parents may wish to have a more active role in their grandchildren’s lives or live closer to a network of friends.

This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

How to help elderly parents
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