Simple ways you can help your elderly parents living at home

Grandparents

Retaining independence as we age has been linked to both positive mental health and higher confidence levels. But providing the right environment can sometimes feel like an insurmountable challenge. Especially with potential health complications such as dementia.

The good news is that there are ways to help our family members remain in their homes, leading a more independent life for longer. It’s about recognising the health benefits for doing just that. And finding out the ways it can be achieved to create a happy, secure home environment and peace of mind for you.

How does independence impact your health?

Often, we worry about the health implications of ageing relatives staying in their homes. Concerns over accidents, trips, and falls, or failing mental health can lead us to believe that a move to a care home is the best answer. But there are health benefits to staying in our homes as we age.

In actual fact, removing an elderly person from their home can be detrimental to overall health. Here are just a few reasons to consider keeping your relative in their familiar, home environment:

  • Health and mortality rates improve among those who stay at home: some studies show that people stay healthier for longer in a familiar, comforting home environment.
  • It helps retain individuality: allowing people to make their own choices day-to-day, from meals to clothing, establish a good sense of self.
  • Fights against depression and isolation: being in your own home and living your life as you like gives you a sense of purpose, and this can be a powerful way to beat depression.
  • Restores dignity: staying in our homes empowers people to prize their freedom and keep a healthy level of self-respect.

Ultimately, putting a focus on mental and physical health can have a big effect on how your loved one feels, and approaches each day. Checking out accessible wellness tips like dietary tweaks, meditation, and regular exercise can all make a difference and encourage independence.

Loss of independence and how you can help

In some cases, illness or mobility issues are the root cause of a loss of independence as we age. These are exactly the types of problems many relatives face when deciding whether to move a parent or relative from their home or not.

Some of the illnesses that can result in a loss of independence include dementia, sight or hearing loss, bad falls, or chronic pain. It may just be as simple as being down to nervousness from relatives. A fear of something bad happening if they live alone.

That’s why it’s important to keep an open dialogue as much as possible. That can be more difficult in some situations, but it’s a good way of building trust.  Encouraging independence through activities, social clubs and even travel to retirement destinations can all boost mental health and self-esteem.

Practical tips for creating a safe home environment

Rest assured, many conditions and illnesses can be managed while your parents stay in their home. It’s important to try and get an understanding of your loved one’s wishes, in order to build mutual trust and respect. Resources such as wrap around care and mobility equipment could provide everyone with a safe, comfortable and preferable option.

The great thing about the modern age is that there are lots of tools at our disposal when it comes to adapting home environments. Chair lifts, walk-in baths and showers, safety alarms and even voice-controlled technology can all help create a safer home. By looking into options like this, you can devise a practical solution that brings happiness and peace of mind to everyone.