If your elderly mother’s health and safety is on your mind but you cannot be with her for logistical or other reasons, there are plenty of ways to provide her a safe and healthy environment without removing her from her comfort zone.
Here are some tips you’ll find useful in caring for an aging parent who lives alone.
Schedule regular health check-ups
Preventive healthcare is an essential part of senior care as it enables family members to keep track of the senior’s health and helps discover any problems early on. Aside from a regular health checkup that should test for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, thyroid, anemia, osteoporosis, genealogical problems and nutritional deficiencies, cancer screening should also be undertaken periodically as advised by your parent’s physician.
In addition, ensure that your mother takes a wholesome healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains. If they’re diabetic, consult a good dietician for a diabetes-friendly diet chart that is easy to follow for a senior living on their own. If your mother finds it difficult to cook or has lost interest in cooking, she may end up consuming junk snacks for lack of proper meals. Arrange for someone who can visit once and cook lunch and dinner for them in one go.
Use technology for peace of mind
Home healthcare technology has made big advances and there are now numerous devices, gadgets and appliances that can make your elderly mother’s life way easier. If your mother does not want the constant company of a nurse or caregiver, you can make her feel safe by installing a home security and video surveillance system. In addition, invest in a good medical alert system so that emergency services, neighbors and relatives can be notified in case of an accident or medical emergency.
When shopping for a medical alert system, you can choose between in-home landline, no-landline and mobile units. Look out for helpful features such as compact size, ease of use, mobility, GPS, Wi-Fi connectivity, fall detection sensor, emergency button, 24/7 monitoring by healthcare professionals and an integrated mobile app. If you’re not sure where to start, you can find the best medical alert system with FindReviews where you’ll find in-depth and authentic product reviews to help you make an informed decision.
You can also upgrade a worn-out kitchen appliance that your mom uses frequently, teach her how to order grocery and medicines online and help her learn how to use online streaming services for entertainment. There are plenty of ways you can utilize technology to enhance an elderly parent’s life and your own peace of mind.
Understand what a senior wants
The best way to care for anyone is to understand what they really need and want rather than act on your own hunches and assumptions. If your mother has been a strong, independent woman all her life, she may not appreciate too much attention and concern, however well-meaning. In such a scenario, you may have to adopt a tactful approach to ensure her well-being and safety.
On the other hand, a senior woman who is living with health problems or has recently lost a loved one will need a lot of emotional support and attention. Someone who’s lost mobility or has become too ill for self-care will need round-the-clock care and may need to be moved to a nursing home.
To summarize this point, ensuring your mother’s emotional wellbeing is an important part of elderly care, regardless of how strong and independent they come across. For a senior who lives alone and is trying to get used to a new lifestyle, their family’s love and support are paramount in keeping them happy and healthy.
Don’t try to do it all alone
Before caring for an aging parent and attending to their needs takes a toll on you, be realistic and accept that you cannot do it all alone—it is better than having a burnout one day and throwing up your hands in despair which would directly affect your parent. Divide responsibilities and expenses with your siblings and consider if your mother will have a better quality of life in a senior care facility. If you’re an only child, take decisions that will make your life less stressful (such as hiring a visiting or stay-at-home nurse) so that you can take better care of your mother from afar.
Lastly, when it comes to senior care, understand that there is a fine line between concern and control and the most authentic elderly care needs oodles of patience and empathy.