Aging is a natural process and one that everyone will experience in their lifetime. For those who are in the position of living with or monitoring a loved one who is experiencing the facets of aging, it can be a challenge. While helping aging seniors may seem like a straightforward process, there are more than a few things to consider supporting a positive attitude throughout the aging process.
Helping them stay mobile throughout the home, engaged in their surroundings, and part of the decision process concerning their welfare are points that family members serving as caregivers may want to consider.
Ensuring Safe and Secure Mobility
As seniors age, mobility can become a serious issue. This may be due to the senior’s overall health status, a physical impairment impacting their mobility, lack of exercise resulting in weakened muscles and issues with balance, and sometimes even a senior’s personal fear of falling. There are several options to help provide seniors with support as they move around their homes.
- Hand grips and/or rails in strategic locations so there is something secure to hold on to. These are especially helpful for homes where the senior must step down into another room. A handrail along with a wide platform for them to step onto provides two means of support as they step up or down from one room to another.
- Hand grips or rails are also suggested for senior bathrooms that should have either a walk-in shower or walk-in bathtub. It is also beneficial to have a secure seat for the senior to sit on attached to a walk-in shower.
- A folding metal walker is a valuable tool for aging seniors. The lightweight walker is fitted with four legs and usually has a 3-sided frame, so the senior has a sense of being surrounded as they hold onto the grips and move through the home. The walkers can be used outside on flat surfaces, and since they are easily folded, can be taken along whenever seniors go to appointments or other outings.
- Walking canes that allow the senior to stand versus bend over plus fitted with pronged bases for stability is another option for safer mobility.
- Seniors living with someone in a home with stairs can investigate the use of a professionally installed stairlift. The lift allows seniors to sit in a secure seat and ride up or down the staircase to access the upstairs or downstairs.
Supporting Home Activities
All too often, seniors are left to their own devices when it comes to exercise, entertainment, communication, dressing, and dining, for example.
Daily exercise is a “must do” for aging seniors in order to maintain their muscle tone, so they can utilize the devices they’ve chosen to aid in their mobility.
Provide brain teasing activities such as crossword puzzles, word games, traditional tabletop puzzles, adult coloring books, painting kits, and magazine subscriptions for their favorite pastimes or topics.
For seniors with hearing issues, replace traditional phones with one that has a screen for them to read what callers are saying.
Replace clothing, including shoes, with options that are easier to put on. Seniors can still look good and up to date in items designed for easy access.
For seniors living on their own, provide easy-to-prepare and nutritious microwaveable meals. Attention spans and forgetfulness are also part of aging and dealing with a stove and oven could become a dangerous situation. There is also the option of having prepared meals delivered to your loved one’s home each day.
Whichever options you are considering, ask your loved one which is the most agreeable for them. Explain how each works, discuss the pros and cons, and let them make the decision of what they are comfortable with. This may mean trying multiple options until they feel confident and secure with the device chosen.
Whether a senior is in the first stages of encountering aging difficulties or has been slowly experiencing aging issues over time, providing ongoing support, and understanding goes a long way in promoting a positive environment and lifestyle for loved ones.