For many senior citizens, the goal is to age as comfortably and independently as possible, and a little help can go a long way. The transition to a caregiving role may come with its fair share of growing pains – for you and your loved one. At Serenity Home Care, we specialize in-home care services. To help you during the early stages, this blog discusses how to take care of senior citizens and some of the top methods for creating a safe, comfortable experience from the start.
Reduce Fall Risks In The Home
Even though your family and loved ones have concluded that having an in-home caregiver is the best possible solution, it may not be the safest place. The good news is that there are many quick fixes to turning the average home into one that better suits an aging senior, such as:
- Installing alarms: A bed alarm makes it easy to get to your loved one quickly if he or she tries to get out of bed without assistance. Especially helpful for dementia patients during the day, gadgets like floor-mat or seat alarms notify you when your loved one is on the move before they wander out of the house.
- Minimizing steps: Traversing steps and stairways can be challenging for anyone with mobility issues. From installing a ramp outside to moving the upstairs bedroom to a spare room downstairs, there are many ways to minimize this risk.
- Increasing lighting: A well-lit room is often easier for seniors to navigate. Additional lighting – and easy access to it – can help prevent falls and other avoidable accidents.
- Mounting grab bars: Grab bars are one of the most useful tools in the home, and they’re relatively easy to install. They can be used in the shower, near the toilet, along short stairways, and other areas.
Organize Medical Essentials
As a caregiver, you’ll likely be in charge of monitoring medication times, setting up medical appointments, and other tasks. Making sure you have access to the necessities from the start can help make the transition to caregiving easier and help your loved one feel confident in your abilities to assist. This includes keeping the following items at the ready:
- Emergency contact numbers
- Health records
- Insurance information
The other thing to consider is basic first aid. If your loved one suffers a minor cut or bruise that doesn’t require a trip to Urgent Care, you’ll likely be the one to help. Always ensure the first aid kit is at your fingertips whenever you need it.
Please note: The level of care after an accident varies between patients. When in doubt, always consult a physician after a minor accident.
Use Technology To Your Advantage
According to Mayo Clinic, caregiver stress and isolation are common. With everything you’re doing at home for yourself and your immediate family, adding caregiving to your responsibilities can seem overwhelming at first. However, a host of technological resources are at your disposal, including:
- Calendar reminders: If your loved one takes multiple medications daily or has several upcoming appointments, setting up calendar alerts can let you focus on more important duties. And if you share caregiving responsibilities with other family members, a group calendar can help keep everyone on the same page.
- Video chats: Using apps like FaceTime can help make caregiving feel less isolating for you and help your loved one connect with others more often. Setting up frequent video chats is a great way to stay social together.
- Caregiving to-do list: While some caregiving duties may overlap, every senior citizen is different and your loved one will likely have specific needs and preferences. Keeping a personalized homecare to-do list in a notes app on your smartphone can help ensure you’ve remembered everything. Some apps have collaboration functions, so other family members can access your list.
Maintain Independence Where Possible
It’s important to remember that while you’re available to help, there are some things that your loved ones may prefer to do by themselves. This doesn’t mean they won’t need additional help over time – it just means that you should fully understand their loved one’s current level of need and adjust as it changes in the future. You can help your loved one retain their autonomy as long as possible with a few helpful items, such as:
- Dressing aids
- Grooming aids
- Shower benches and chairs
- Extended reachers
- Elevating recliners and seat cushions
While many items are centered on safety, others are designed to help make everyday life feel easier. Daily living and personal care aides can also help caregivers assist aging seniors in ways that avoid undue stress and discomfort. However, if your loved one prefers professional assistance with personal needs, like bathing and toileting, calling a caregiving agency may be the best solution.
Hire Help When You Need It
A healthy dose of empathy and an open line of communication can be your greatest assets. For most senior citizens, the transition to home care is a tough one, associated with feelings of loss for a life once lived actively. Trusted caregivers from organizations like Serenity Home Care specialize in providing personalized, in-home care services to seniors throughout the Beaverton, Oregon area, including Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties. In partnership with you, our team can help your loved one live life to the fullest.