- Develop a plan to help your loved one age in place. This includes understanding their needs and limitations, communicating with family members, and researching emergency preparedness.
- Make adaptations for safety's sake, such as installing grab bars, adding ramps, or modifying bathrooms for wheelchair accessibility. Consider hiring a licensed contractor for guidance and advice.
- Manage your loved one's health care needs, including ensuring they have access to necessary medications and a primary care physician, and setting up emergency contact lists. Consider hiring a caregiver or home health aide for additional assistance.
re you helping your loved one age in place? As a caregiver, it's your job to help your loved one live their life as fully as possible.
Here are 4 tips for helping your parent or loved one successfully age in place:
1. Develop a plan.
As you begin the process of helping your loved one age in place, it's important to have a plan. You'll need to have a clear idea of what their needs are and whether or not you have the right equipment and resources on hand to meet them. For example, if your loved one is visually impaired or has trouble walking, they may need assistance installing grab bars in their bathroom or getting around with an electric wheelchair. You will also want to know your own limitations—is there any way you can help? If not, what kind of assistance do they need from other family members?
As you develop this plan together (and remember: there's no such thing as too much communication), consider how each member of the family can pitch in with their individual strengths and weaknesses. It's best for everyone involved when everyone is clear about what their role is going forward so that no one feels left out or overburdened by responsibilities that are outside their comfort zone.
Finally, do some research into emergency preparedness so that both yourself and those around you will know what steps should be taken if something happens while they're alone at home
2. Make adaptations for safety's sake.
Adapting a home for aging in place can be done in many different ways, and it’s important to consider how much work you want to invest in your loved one’s current home. Some small changes, like installing grab bars or a stair lift, may be all that is needed to make the house safe and functional for your loved one (and often this type of change doesn’t require any construction or remodeling). Other changes may require more extensive renovations such as adding ramps or modifying bathrooms so they are wheelchair-friendly.
In addition, consider hiring professional help. A licensed contractor will be able to give you advice on what changes need to be made and guide you through the process of making these alterations safely and efficiently.
Learn more home modifications you can make for safety: 5 Simple Home Modifications to Prevent Falls
3. Manage health care needs.
You'll want to ensure that your parents have all their medications, including prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. It's also important to make sure they have a primary care physician and a trusted nurse or home health aide for assistance with daily activities like bathing and dressing. If you live in another state, you may want to set up an account with a national pharmacy service (like www.rxassist.com) so that you can ship prescriptions from any location when necessary.
When it comes time for your parents' annual checkup with the doctor, be sure that someone is there who can help them get through the appointment—someone who will know what questions are appropriate for both parties—and that someone else drives them back home afterward!
You may want to consider setting up an emergency contact list with all of the information necessary should an accident occur at home: names of family members/friends; doctors and nurses on call; phone numbers where they can be reached; and directions on how best enter the house after receiving a call during off hours such as nights or weekends.
4. Get help.
Depending on the severity of your loved one's problems, you may need a bit of assistance — or a whole lot of it. There are many options for getting help with daily tasks.
Here are some options:
- Hire a caregiver. Caregivers can assist your loved one with errands, transportation, cooking meals and housekeeping. They can also provide companionship or personal care services on an as-needed basis. Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes—from part-time to full-time employees of home care agencies to independent contractors working out of their own homes—so do some research before making any decisions about hiring one (or several).
- Hire a home health aide(s). Aides help people with daily activities such as bathing and dressing themselves, eating meals or taking medications; they may also assist with laundry, cleaning the house or yard work if needed.
If you already are a caregiver, learn more about respite care for extra caregiving assistance: Create a Respite Care Plan
There are many ways in which we can help our loved one's age in place and it all comes down to being prepared.
Having a plan will go a long way toward helping your loved ones stay independent and safe as they age by making sure they have access to the right kinds of assistance when they need it most.