How to Help a Senior

While there is no such thing as “typical” seniors, as they age, there are a few basic lifestyle things a family or friend can do to make their lives more comfortable.

Nearly 15 million older adults in the U.S. live alone, many feeling that they would be a burden on their families if they were to move in with them.  In lots of cases they are ignored and cannot really maintain an active life without some help.  So how can you be helpful without destroying their sense of independence?

In some cases, arranging for in-home care from a professional homecare facility may be the most effective.  You could also arrange for any necessary therapy to be done in-home.  And, having the appropriate doctors on speed-dial, too.

Here are a few specific things you can do that will make a big impact on the lives of those older people for whom you care – or care about.

Medical Transportation.

Every year, over 600,000 seniors give up their car keys.  That, of course, severely limits their ability to get to the places they need to go.  Providing them with the necessary transportation to get to medical appointments would be a huge convenience for them.  Even if you do not do the actual driving, setting up medical transportation with a professional provider makes it easy for the senior to arrange non-emergency transportation with just a phone call.

Freedom of movement.

Whether it is providing a walker or cane or something more sophisticated like a wheelchair or motorized mobile chair, it is important to make it possible for an older person to be able to move around comfortably and safely, whether out in the public or in their own homes.  This should include more compact assistive measures like a cane or walker when a wheelchair may not fit.  Additionally, ramps and handrails around the house are important considerations.  If warranted, a hospital bed or special shower configurations may be necessary, too.

Medication Management.

Most seniors are on several medications.  Multiple pills at multiple times of day can be confusing.  Setting up systems to reduce the confusion or even acquiring equipment that automatically alerts and dispenses medicines at the appropriate times can be very helpful.  In addition to medications, scheduling doctors, dentists, ophthalmologists, podiatrists and physical therapy for a senior will relieve him or her of the burden of remembering – and assuring they get all-round care on a regular basis.  Engaging the help of a homecare agency (non-medical assistance) or home health care agency (nursing) may significantly help your senior, as well.

As anyone who has cared for a senior knows, there are a myriad of things that seniors need.  The above are the key basics that allow an elder living alone to lead a comfortable and safe life.

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