An AARP survey found that 76 percent of the men and women 50 or older want to age at home. However, only 46 percent believe that will happen. How do your parents feel? Do they want to move to a new neighborhood or community? Is their goal to remain in their home for the rest of their lives?
How do you support your parents’ wishes? You want to make sure they are able to stay in their home, but you also worry about their safety. They aren’t close to the city, so you also worry about them being isolated and lonely. What can you do to ensure their wishes are met without risking their mental and physical health?
Make Sure They Exercise
Daily exercise helps keep the bones, muscles, and joints strong. That lowers the risk of a fall and improves balance. Ideally, your parents should get 30 minutes or more of moderate activity. Moderate activity needs to increase the heart rate and includes exercises like a brisk walk at a steady pace or half an hour of swimming laps.
Investigate the Cost of Necessary Modifications
Your parents have a two-level home. For now, they both handle the stairs well, but your dad has arthritis. If it worsens to the point that he struggles on the stairs, would he be able to get outside? Could he get to his bedroom, the kitchen, and the bathroom?
If not, the home’s layout may need rearrangement. For example, he’d need to have the entry, a bedroom, the kitchen, and a bathroom on the same floor. If he tried to use the stairs and fell, he could be seriously injured. If you can’t redesign his layout to work, consider having a stairlift or elevator installed to help him get from one floor to the next.
Would elder care aides help? If your dad can’t get up and down the stairs on his own, could he with the support of a caregiver? Caregivers can also help with laundry and household chores that take place on other levels of the home.
Arrange Help From an Elder Care Agency
Call an elder care expert at a local agency. First, talk about your mom and dad’s housing situation and abilities. Then, go through a list of activities of daily living and pinpoint the areas where they need the most assistance.
Make sure you only arrange elder care services that they need. Things they do well on their own should be left to them to complete. That’s the key to helping them maintain their independence.