People are living longer and becoming more able to live rich and happy lives in their winter years, but figures show that, despite this, fifty percent of people over 75 in the UK suffer a fall each year, making them vulnerable to broken bones and being left unaided. It is important to carefully assess the needs of seniors, but if they still want to keep their independence, and you think that is still a viable option, there are increasingly more things you can do to help them achieve that, such as modifying their living arrangements, teaching them how to use internet services and installing a car alarm and key safe from Helpline.
Find local activity groups
Social isolation is a big problem for many seniors, even though they’d prefer to live independently and not in a more social care home setting. However, it may not be practical for you to be able to visit them as often as you’d like, but you may have concerns about them getting lonely. To help, research local activist groups that could be easily accessible for your loved one. That way they can meet new people while learning a new skill or progressing at something they already enjoy. Community centers often host classes such as country dancing, drawing, keep fit and bridge for people of any age and skill level and are advertised in libraries and local papers, as well as online. Or why not look into the University of the Third Age?
Teach them how to shop online
As we get older, driving might seem like less of an appetizing prospect, and yet going to the supermarket and carrying heavy bags of shopping home might not be manageable. But a lot of people don’t want to live in catered accommodation or have a ‘meals on wheels’ service as they actually enjoy cooking and like having the control over what they eat and how they prepare food. A great way to help your seniors achieve this form of independence is teaching them how to shop online. These days, most major supermarkets give this as an option, meaning that anyone can choose their desired brands, pick the ingredients they want for the meals they like to prepare and have it delivered to their home at their own convenience. Once you’ve done it the first time, it’s simple to do again as and when shopping is needed. And it doesn’t have to stop at groceries, almost anything can be bought online, from clothes to homewares, so your relative needn’t wait to be taken out if they require anything new.
The importance of online safety
If you are going to teach a relative how to shop online, they may also be interested in other aspects of the internet, such as social media, online banking, paying bills, email and news sites. These can help people stay connected with loved ones, research things they are interested in, meet new people and carry out day to day activities, even if they have difficulty leaving the house unaided. However, there are many scams, viruses, and data fraud issues that could entrap someone who is not online savvy. Make sure you teach them about online safety. There are many websites dedicated to teaching senior internet users about staying safe, so advise your loved one to read this material before giving out any personal information online.
Tastefully modify their home
One of the major concerns that we have about seniors living alone is their physical frailty. An often overlooked hazard in the home is the amount of clutter a person has amounted over time. Removing this, and any unnecessary or bulky furniture can really help reduce the number of falls and trips an elderly person could have and promote freer access through rooms. You could also install grip bars into baths, showers and next to toilets, toilet risers, non-skid rug slip pads, chairlifts if they live in a two or more-story house and better lighting systems. These can really help make everyday activities in the home easier to achieve alone, but ensure you choose equipment that suits your loved one’s tastes so that they still feel comfortable in a homely environment. Redesigning the rooms together could be a fun and empowering project. Another useful tip is to set alarms (you can do it on mobile phones) to remind them to take any medication they need.
Install care alarms
Despite making any of the above changes, you may still have concerns: what if they injure themselves when there is no one there to help? How would they call for help? Thieves may target homes known to be lived in by older people as they are less likely to be able to stop them, so how can you protect them from that happening? Helpline personal care alarms can give you peace of mind and protect an elderly person in these scenarios. They can be in the form of a discreet, waterproof wrist strap or pendant button that, when pressed, at any time day or night, raises an alarm which immediately lets Helpline’s Response Centre know who is in trouble and where. They will assess the situation and contact either the emergency services, a doctor or a loved one. This means that help is always on hand, should a difficult situation occur, without having to reach a phone or remember a contact number. In addition to the care alarm, Helpline also offers key safes. These are small boxes, approved by the police, that hold a key to the property and are fitted outside the door. They have a combination known only to Helpline and your relative, that can be related to emergency services, should they need to enter the property quickly when your loved one is not able to get to the door. To learn more about the process of installing an alarm or a safe, have a look at Helpline’s website here: https://www.helpline.co.uk/the-process/