Supporting Your Elderly Parent’s Autonomy

One of the most difficult things you’re likely to have to do as an adult is to learn to support your parents, to some degree, as they age. They’ve loved, nurtured, and supported you. It is now your turn to return the favor. One way to do that is to assist your elderly parent in maintaining his or her independence.

Make Home a Safe Haven

Install grab or pull bars in the bathrooms so your parent has additional support to avoid sips and falls. Remove clutter and obstacles from walkways and hallways so that they are easily maneuverable. Make sure these rooms are also well lit so any obstructions will be easier for aging eyes to spot and avoid.

Offer Assistance with Cooking and Cleaning

You don’t have to go in every day and cook and clean but if you offer to come in once a week and help with these things it will give you the opportunity to check for potential problems while also greatly aiding the person who has loved you through the truly better and worse moments in your life.

Visit Frequently

There isn’t enough that can be said about this. Frequent visits will allow you to see for yourself if problems are beginning to crop up with your parent’s health. Over the phone these problems aren’t as easy to see. More importantly you’ll be able to take advantage of important time together in these later years and build a new kind of relationship with your elderly parent.

Get to Know Your Parent’s Neighbors

If you develop a relationship with your parents neighbors you might be able to pay the teenage girl next door to peek in once in a while and check on your parent or encourage another neighbor to call you if there are signs of trouble. You can keep an eye on your parent without appearing as though that’s what you’re doing.

Subscribe to a Medical Alert System

There is nothing in the world that will replace peace of mind. While you can’t be there every moment as your parent ages you can give your parent a little more freedom by providing them with the gift of instant access to assistance when needed. A decent medical alert system will not only provide instant access to emergency care but will also contact you so that you can do what is needed to be there for your parent.

These are all small things you can do that will be invaluable to an aging parent that wants to hold on to independence for as long as possible. This gift may be the best gift you can give.

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