6 Caregiver Tips for Independent Seniors
Caring for aging parents or another elderly loved one can present many challenges to caregivers, especially if they want to provide independence for those seniors while still ensuring their safety and well-being. Luckily, there are a lot of resources in both San Diego and available nationally to help.
Here are 6 tips for caregivers on caring for independent seniors while still ensuring their own peace of mind.
Communicate with Respect
It’s important that caregivers put themselves in their loved one’s shoes while making plans for their care — imagine being told you can no longer do something that provides you independence, like drive, or having someone insist on talking to doctors on your behalf, even though you think you are capable of handling such things yourself. Be empathic to the difficult changes your loved one is going through, and resist the urge to treat them like children. Let them make their own decisions whenever possible.
This San Diego non-profit is dedicated to helping seniors remain independent and live well in their own homes. They provide rides to appointments and volunteers to help with things like gardening, shopping, and more.
Arrange Grocery Delivery
If your loved one is comfortable using technology, show them how they can order their own groceries online and have them delivered. This will help them be in control of their meal planning without having to leave home to shop. If they aren’t comfortable ordering online, caregivers can order for them after talking to them about a meal plan for the week. Knowing they have healthy food in their kitchen will provide caregivers comfort, and still let seniors have control over what they eat and when.
Make Living at Home Easy and Safe
Do a risk assessment of your loved one’s home to look for any potential hazards and add items that make life easier for seniors keeping their independence at home:
- Make sure clothing and personal items are easy to access
- Secure rugs so they can’t slip
- Add handrails in the bathroom
- Add a chair in the shower
- Make sure the home has good lighting
- Add voice-activated assistive technology like an Alexa. These can turn on lights, change the temperature, play music, make calls, and other convenient tasks
Help Seniors Stay Active
Encourage physical activity such as walks, stretching, dancing, or strength training depending on their ability. Look for senior-friendly activities and events in your area and find ways to keep your loved one from feeling lonely. Here’s an article with tips for homebound seniors to stay connected.
Organize and Maintain Legal Documents
Caregivers are often asked to make financial or medical decisions for their loved ones, and it’s important to have the necessary legal paperwork in order to do so. Prepare any legal documents as soon as possible, and make sure to update them as needed. This will help avoid adding more stress to any emergencies or situations that require a caregiver to make decisions. Some important documents to have handy include:
- The senior’s living will
- Power of attorney to make medical and financial decisions
- Will and any Trust documents
- Access to bank accounts
- Insurance policies
- Tax returns
- Medical records
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For more senior resources, visit scrippsamg.com.