Seniors want to age in place and that’s a good thing. It helps them to maintain their independence and a high quality of life for many years. However, it does come with its own challenges and that’s why it’s important to know how to improve elder care in the home. As seniors age and experience various health conditions or impaired mobility, knowing how to care for them in their homes is very important. Below are three ways that you can improve elder care in the home.
1. Make the home safe: A senior may be able to continue to live at home but that doesn’t mean that the home itself should remain the same. It’s important to take an inventory of the home to make it safe for the senior. The home environment should take into account any of the senior’s deficiencies, such as vision or mobility issues, and address them. Take a quick inventory of the house:
- Remove fall hazards such as throw rugs, piles of clutter on the floor. Remove piles of clutter on countertops and stairs as well. Any pile can create a hazard.
- Install bright lighting in all light fixtures and make sure that stairways are brightly lit.
- Install handrails in the shower/bathtub and by the toilet.
- Make sure your loved one wears non-slip footwear in the house.
2. Improve medication adherence: One of the biggest problems for seniors is adhering to prescribed medication directions. It is considered an epidemic and one that can significantly impact the health of your loved one. There are many reasons that seniors have difficulty taking their prescriptions correctly including difficulty reading the prescription bottles, forgetfulness, a lack of understanding of why the medication is important, and changing the way it is taken in order to save money. Make sure that your loved one’s medications are in an easy to open pill organizer, with individual boxes for each time of day and each day of the week. Sort the medications for your senior. If you see that some of the pills aren’t taken, establish a reminder alarm on a phone or by phone call. Taking medications appropriately is key to your loved one’s ability to maintain good health.
3. Improve nutrition: Just like medication adherence, nutrition is one of those issues that can significantly impact the health of your loved one. Many seniors suffer from malnutrition and dehydration because they don’t eat correctly, or enough. It is difficult to cook for one and it can be unappetizing to eat alone. However, nutrition is important for many things, not the least of which are strong bones and muscles, and a healthy brain. There are ways to encourage your loved one to eat well, even if no one else is there to eat with them.
- Prepare appetizing, small meals and snacks that the senior can grab and eat.
- Brain food like almonds, spinach salads, oatmeal, and blueberries can be prepared ahead and left in containers to eat.
- Foods enriched with protein like puddings and shakes are easy to eat.
- Meals made ahead and ready to heat can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Place the meals in brightly colored containers so they look appetizing.
When these small snacks and meals are ready to grab, a reminder phone call can then prompt your loved one to eat.
These tips will help you to improve elder care in the home. The physical needs of your loved one are being met through doctor appointments and other services. The challenge can be meeting the needs of your loved one when they are at home majority of their time. Combining a safe home, senior dietary help and proper medication routines will lead to a safe and healthy life for the senior. These types of strategies can help to keep them safe and healthy while aging in place in the home they love.