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Independence is incredibly important to seniors, a fact that anyone who is caring for an elderly parent or relative will no doubt be familiar with. However, encouraging independence can also be a cause of stress and concern, as the balance between independence and ensuring care needs are met is often a delicate one. If you are a member of the sandwich generation and are currently caring for an elderly parent, then here are a few ways you can ensure that their independence is maintained
Encourage tech adoption
Encouraging your loved one to use the internet can really help to maintain independence. They could, for example, order their own groceries and have them delivered to their house, catch up with friends and family via Skype conversations, and it’s now even possible to access medical care and advice thanks to a variety of telemedicine options. It’s therefore a good idea to ensure your parent has access to a laptop or smartphone (or both) and that they are comfortable using it.
Look for at-home care services
It is no longer necessary for seniors to leave their home in order to access regular care; there are now many elderly care options that are designed to help people stay in their own homes for as long as possible. At-home care is a great way to help encourage independence, and can also provide you with valuable reassurance that your loved one’s health needs will be in the best possible hands.
Provide a medical alert solution
Ensuring that your loved one can access medical care in an emergency is a major concern for many people with elderly parents, but thankfully, modern innovations can help to manage this concern and ensure the safety of your loved one. In particular, medical alert systems can ensure that your parent is able to call for help in an emergency situation, so go through the options with your loved one and decide which might be the most suitable for them.
Create a safer home environment
A few tweaks to your parent’s environment can help to ensure that they are as safe as possible when they are at home. Hand rails can be installed in bathrooms and kitchens to help with mobility, and consider replacing standard furniture with “riser” versions to ensure sitting and standing are as comfortable as possible. It’s also helpful to lift items such as trash receptacles and shoe racks off the floor so that your parent does not need to bend down to access them. You can also consider the flooring that is used throughout their home; carpet is often a better choice than laminate or wood, as it offers greater traction – and therefore decreases the likelihood of slips – when walked on. Finally, if there are any rugs in your loved one’s home, ensure these are appropriately secured with anti-slip mats.
With the above measures, your loved one’s independence should be maintained as well as possible, and you can benefit from the peace of mind of knowing all of their care needs will be met.