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Lifestyles over 50

Making Life Easier for Your Elderly Relatives Without Interfering Too Much

Many of us have elderly relatives in our life, and we might be responsible for helping them out and enabling them to continue living independently. Understandably, we may be unsure of how to do this effectively. It may seem easier to just take control when, no matter how old they are, they still may be able to do things independently for themselves. The question we need to ask is, “What can I do to help without interfering too much?”

This is a fine line because your intentions will only be good. However, you believe only you know what is best for your loved one. Helping them out now and again is fine, but if you can find ways to help make their life easier without infringing on their lives too much, that is always going to bring the best result. How can you do this? Here are some of the ways you can make life easier for any elderly relatives that you care for. 

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Adapt their home

One of the first things to consider would be to adapt their home to make things easier for them as they age. This could include things like handrails to help them in the bathroom or to get up from their seat in the living room. It could be specially-designed beds that have options to raise the head or feet, or chairs that can lift to help them stand. When you start looking into this, you will see there are so many options that could make life easier at home. Often the small changes can help an elderly person stay in their home for longer, which will make them happier.

Making mobility easier for them

Something else to consider is to make mobility easier for them, and it can be a great way to help them stay mobile and give them some independence. For example, scooters and wheelchairs make it easier for people to head out to the shops and go outside to enjoy some fresh air. Poor mobility can alienate elderly people, so giving them an alternative can help them enjoy a quality of life greater than what they experience now. A quick look online will give you plenty of options. It doesn’t even have to be a wheelchair or scooter—it could be something as simple as an aid to help them walk, like a walking stick or a walker for extra support. Discussing the options with your loved one will give you an idea of what they need.

Help with food shopping or seek out the help of a meal service

Food purchasing and preparing can be a big problem with older people. Handling food, buying it, and preparing it may become much more difficult for them. Making these tasks easier would be very helpful. You could meal plan, batch cook, and create single meals for them in a way that requires the simple act of putting a meal in the microwave or oven. Perhaps you can arrange for a meal service that will deliver meals to their door.

Get appropriate help when needed

You may find that you can’t do everything yourself—after all, you may have kids to look after, grandchildren, and your own life to occupy yourself. In that case, it would be a good idea to seek some help. You could look at private care for elderly people, companies that offer in-home services, including cleaning, meals, errands, etc. This could ideally help with the chores and give your loved ones company on the days you can’t be there. You may eventually need to think about assisted living accommodations; there are some amazing facilities that provide independent living and other custom arrangements.

Adapt spaces to be accessible

Something we may not readily consider is how to make spaces we take for granted accessible. Look around your loved one’s living space and see what they may have trouble accessing. Look into low-level storage, or putting items at eye height to make them easier to find. Storage cupboards at high levels or with tall edges may no longer be suitable, so coming up with alternative storage options would be more convenient.

Keep the memories alive

Finally, keep the memories alive as much as you can. You can do this by regularly talking to your relatives and older members of the family. Go through pictures, listen patiently to their stories, and generally enjoy communicating. It can make a huge difference in their day and how they feel.

These tips should help you make life easier for your elderly relatives, making them happier and more secure, and lifting your own spirits as well!

"Grief and the Holidays" Free Workshop

Join Stephens Funeral Home for the free "Grief and the Holidays" workshop, led by the Wisdom Coalition's Kim Howie and Nancy Werteen of WFMZ. Heading into the holidays with an empty seat at the table can be difficult. Learn how to accept what is, let go of what was, and embrace what can be. Thursday, December 7, 6:30 p.m. RSVP by December 2, 610.434.6304. Stephens Funeral Home, 274 N. Krocks Rd., Allentown, PA. |

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