When Your Aging Parent Wants to Remain Independent

It is a dilemma that many adult children face at a certain point. You are concerned about your parent(s) living alone, but they don’t want to leave the home, apartment or neighborhood that have known and loved for so many years.  As more and more of the elderly live longer and still function adequately, the phenomenon becomes more common.  In their minds, they are moving around relatively easily, getting daily chores handled, albeit more slowly than before and enjoying life.  All you see is their faltering steps, failing eyesight and forgetfulness.

Exactly because this phenomenon is becoming so common, many support mechanisms have been developed to help older people remain in their homes.  The famous “I have fallen and I can’t get up” commercial is no joke to those who actually rely on such a notification device. They usually feel secure in the knowledge that, even though they are alone, if some accident does befall them, they can easily and quickly reach needed help.  Even smaller, simpler aids take some of the worry away when older people live on their own.  The simple precaution of having various pills in specially designed boxes that remind a person to take a pill at a given time on a given day can alleviate a lot of the anxiety around missed dosages.  Tubs or showers that allow a person to walk into, instead of dangerously having to climb into a bathtub, in a wet environment, can be a real quality of life boost.

In addition to devices to protect the elderly, there are more and more organizations popping up throughout the country that offer physical assistance in the home so that mom or dad, or both, can remain in their beloved home.  Organizations that help seniors to continue to live at home supply almost any level of support, depending on the need.  Many seniors only require an aide to help them bathe or perhaps prepare one hearty meal a day.  Others may have given up driving and need someone to take them to appointments or shopping.  More elevated levels of support, in the form of trained medical staff, such as an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) or even an RN (Registered Nurse) to monitor glucose levels or blood pressure levels can be arranged as well.  The organizations that offer these services usually have physicians on call for any emergency.

Finally, the children of seniors who want to live at home can get in contact with local authorities to find out what services are available to them.  A lot of the funds from state lottery sales are earmarked for programs for the elderly, and many states have an Ombudsman for the elderly, or some similar office to manage the various services.  For example, if a person is on Medicare, he or she can get a cab ride to a doctor’s office and be reimbursed.  County level governments or charitable organizations run meals on wheels programs that bring hot meals to the elderly in their homes. And then of course, there are the ubiquitous senior citizen centers, most of which have transportation services for those who can no longer drive.  These centers can be are a real social lifeline because it gets these seniors out of the house, meeting other people and engaging in mind stimulating activities such as card playing, bingo, etc.

When an aging loved one requires in home help, a background check should be required for every applicant. Even medical professionals and applicants with great references, can still learn to cover up information about their past.