When a senior reach a certain age, after retirement and after a partner has passed on, they find themselves asking “what’s next?” For the child of an aging parent, this question has a big impact. If your parent wants to live a freer, more independent lifestyle and isn’t ready for in-home senior care, how can you make sure they can stay safe while living alone? Whether you’re doing it alone or you have help from family and friends, caring for aging parents is tough stuff. Having all your facts together before figuring out how you can best help your parent ease into the next phase of life is extremely helpful, especially if you find yourself having to make a lot of big decisions in a short amount of time. If your senior parent wants to stay at home, here are a few tips for making their life happy, healthy, and safe.
Hire an In-Home Carer
If your parent enjoys their independence but might need a bit more help with the basics, hiring someone to help out part-time, whether in a friendly capacity or as a licensed nurse, can make a big difference. For seniors who still have an active social life but are starting to have trouble making it out of the house on time or keeping up with doctor’s appointments, having someone who consistently shows up to cook, clean, or simply spend time with your parent can take a huge load off your shoulders. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your senior is being looked in on and cared for regularly, and you won’t have to feel like it’s up to you to constantly “checkup” on your parent. This is a great option for seniors who need help senior-proofing their home as well: An in-home carer can set up emergency protocols to make sure that if your parent slips and falls, absolutely no time is wasted.
On a Budget? Look into Government Programs
Even if you don’t think you have the money to hire a part-time nurse, there are a ton of government programs that offer subsidized aid to seniors on Medicare or Medicaid. If your parent is a veteran, they could have access to an in-home carer at a vastly reduced cost. You could also be eligible for a number of federal programs that help seniors live an active, independent life. Making sure you can afford in-home care for your parent will help you save for the future while knowing that your loved one is being given the best possible help in a familiar environment.
Find Community Helpers or Senior Services
If you’re trying to help your parent by getting them a bit more engaged in senior-specific activities or events, you shouldn’t have to look far. There are a ton of resources for seniors in major metropolitan areas and even more rural climates if you know where to look. If your parent has been active in their community for a long time, there’s a good chance they’ll already know about some of these services. However, don’t expect your parent to engage in community activities or seek out help themselves. From classes at the local gym to meals on wheels to community volunteers and senior helpers, you can find ways to either get your parent out of the house and active or to get community members to come and check in on your parent regularly. Look for community message boards online or at your local gym to see if anyone is offering their services. You could even reach out to local high schools to see if you can set something up with a teenager looking to volunteer. No matter where your parent lives, there are tons of community outreach programs that can help connect them with tons of resources, activities, and company during the week.
Bring the Family to Visit
No matter how socially active your parent is, there’s simply nothing like a visit from you and the rest of the family to lift their spirits, get them in a great mood, and keep them looking to the future for fun and inspiration. If you live less than an hour away from your parent, try to drop in at least a few times a week, alone or with your family. If you live further away, try to get away every month or so to do an in-person visit. Bringing grandkids or extended family members along for the ride can be a great way to make sure your parent is doing well and keeping engaged while spending some quality time with the senior in your life.