Helping Elderly Parents

What are some things I can do to help my elderly patents? I have rearranged their kitchen to make it easier. I take them to all their appointments. Does anyone have any other helpful ideas? Thanks.

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November 14, 20080 found this helpful

All you can do is offer your assistance and be there for them. I'm sure you are already doing that for them and they appreciate you for that. I know when my father-in-law comes home from a hospital stay they've always said to be sure to remove rugs. It may prevent them from falling. Install handles around the tubs and where there are steps. Help with meals. Everything counts, even the small things.

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November 14, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with Little Suzy. My step dad just passed away and I had never thought of all the things he eventually needed. We got a raised toilet seat, shower seat, and handles around everything. Depending on how much help they need you may be able to call somebody like Home Health and have them come out. I think their doc has to order it. My step dad had Parkinson's and needed lots of care. They were wonderful. Do they need a ramp to get outside? One thing I would encourage you to do is to strongly encourage them to get as much exercise as possible to stay as mobile as possible. Just a walk around the block or to the mail box is good. I would enourage you to refrain from doing TOO much because often the more you do, the less they need to do and consequently the less they CAN do.

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November 14, 20080 found this helpful

If they're taking medications, setting up a medicine box is a big help. Also, my mother was very relieved to have me take over the checking account and responsibility for paying the bills.

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November 14, 20080 found this helpful

On there medicines besides putting them inside the boxes so they remember to take the right dosage, you can also look up when they run out or are due again to be refilled and set your computer to remind both them and you so your both on the same page as to when and how much the cost will be for then ahead of time. Also, make sure there are clear safe paths to everywhere you know they walk to, even outside so they will not risk falling.

Even though they say they will not go outside or try to reach for things if they are disable and not suppose too they will if there mind gets set on it so make sure walk ways are salted from frozen ice, etc. and check to make sure the fire exits are clear and the smoke detectors are up to working right, check to see if there night lights are working as well. When my mom had bone caner it hurt to bend down a put lotion on her feet but she was to proud to ask me too, so just take notice of small things like that and if you see they do not get done just offer to do it. hope that helped in some way.

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November 14, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks so much for all the great ideas. Keep 'em coming! Bonnie

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November 14, 20080 found this helpful

1) We've found that to buy them a cheapie & easy to use second hand computer where they can send their friends & family e-mails & get on the web makes older folks feel like they have more friends & thus, they are happier. Teach them computer basics & keep everything super-simple. They may say "I don't want a computer" but once they get one, they'll change their minds!

2) Another thing that can really help older folks is to subscribe to digital cable with a DVR for them where they can get more TV channels. The extra TV selection can really make a difference & many seniors can't afford the added expense themselves.

3) Last but not least, is to drive them to senior functions... They have buses that will pick up & drive seniors to Saturday craft fairs at this time of the year, call your local senior center & ask about senior functions. Meeting other seniors & having lots of friends really makes the difference in a long & happy life!

4) They've proven that a pet can make people happier & live longer. A cat is much easier to take care of than a dog... & If you could help by changing the litter twice a week then it would be even easier for them. Get them an older cat, not a kitten & one where you already know the animals disposition. To find one post an add on Craig's List or call & ask or look on the bulletin board at a vets office for someone looking for a home for an older cat.

5) Make & deliver fresh, homemade dinners where they can heat them up in the microwave. When you live alone you really don't feel like cooking. If they can have small portions that only need to be reheated seniors will eat much better.

6) Do they need help in keeping up the house, like painting the outside or with weather-stripping & weatherproofing... Also check their gutters because you don't want them up on a ladder... & get your kids to help them by raking leaves & mowing the grass & weeding.

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November 17, 20080 found this helpful

Install rails in hallways helped. Bars install in baths and showers also.

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November 17, 20080 found this helpful

Hire a teenager to come check on them and give you a report. Dad needed eye drops once a day. She came and did that for him, after school. Give them your phone numbers just in case. Sometimes when only one parent is living they get lonely. Good luck.

Dad died last year. Miss him.

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November 17, 20080 found this helpful

If they have let you rearrange their kitchen to make things easier, they may be willing to let you de-clutter around their home (pack up and put away stuff if they don't want to get rid of it). Go through their medicine cabinet and get rid of outdated (and unsafe) Rxs and OTC meds and reduce duplicates of thingc like nail scissors and thermometers. Do the same with clothing -- help them prepare for the change of seasons and reduce the bulk in the closets. Make sure there is adequate space around the furniture they use so they won't trip/fall. If either one uses a walker, make sure it is adjusted to the proper height and that the fittings are tight. Also, putting tennis balls on the back legs (with an 'X" cut to put the walker leg through) will help the walker move easily over carpet. Remove throw rugs or make sure they have rubberized mats on them to prevent sliding. Are they still driving? Are you concerned about that? Can you do their driving for them, to the grocery store, doctors' offices, etc?

Also, please make sure your parents have Living Wills and Advanced Directives, and have signed papers giving a family member some control of healthcare decisions (along with them). Also, though it is touchy to mention it, make sure their wills are in order, so that the surviving spouse is protected.

I've BTDT. and I wish you 'Good luck'!

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November 17, 20080 found this helpful

Write notes to their friends, Christmas cards etc. Always the elderly enjoy someone reading to them or set them up to recieve audiotapes of their favorite books from the local library or if they are sight impaired you can get audio tapes for free.

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November 17, 20080 found this helpful

Make a grocery list of things they use the most offen. Seperate items by color, like all paper goods in blue, all cleaning supplies in yellow, all groceries in red, etc. Then laminate the list, attach a magnet to the back, so they can put it on the fridge. Put a magnet on a washable crayon, so it can be placed beside the list. Then, when they are running low on something, they can check it on the list. You can take the list with you to the store to pick up what they need. You can use a dry paper towel to clean the check marks off when you are done.

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November 17, 20080 found this helpful

One of the things my sister and mom liked most was a rub down ( back rub ) with warmed lotion at bedtime. Soothing / comforting is the human touch. A hug will do wonders too. Another treat is to go for a ride. Just to get out of the house and have an ice cream cone. Take them to a park to "people watch". Some people like to be read to. Many would love to share their memories with someone. Let them show you their picture albums, ask questions about their familys, jobs, life experiences. Ask if you could make a favorite cookie recipe or share a cup of coffee/tea with them. TIME is what we all need more of. Enjoy a few minutes of TIME with people you love and admire.

Great Granny Vi

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November 17, 20080 found this helpful

Make sure that you have a bar in place in the tub for getting in and out of the tub. Also a shower seat even in the bathtub helps. They can sit and you can get a long extentioned shower head for washing.

I also laid out the pills for mom once a week. This was good because I could see that they were taking them.

Offer to help with finances...but don't push....help in this area only if they want it. My mother had to take over because Dad had dementia and she really liked me to check she got all the bills paid...better yet you could see if you could set up some on automatic pay so they don't have to be concerned about them every month.

Make sure you just drop in for a visit and a hug...I taught school and dropped in after teaching each day for a short time. My mother looked forward to it. Give your mom flowers while you have her (and hugs too). My mother said to give her flowers while she was alive so she could enjoy them....it sort of became a joke...but even a rose from your garden, or a small bunch from Home Depot or the grocery store once in a while really cheers people up.

Love them while you have them...even though it can be hard at times to fit it in....after they are gone you will miss them.

Harriet

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November 17, 20080 found this helpful

I took care of my mother for 15 years. I learned that I had to take care of myself, emotionally and physically in order to help her. And, be there too just listen. My mother loved to talk about the past and I wish I had written things down at the time. I was very fortunate to have a loving husband and family that understood my position with my mother. She is fondly remembered now. Blessing to you!

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November 18, 20080 found this helpful

I take my father food. My sister and I got hold of a company that has someone come and clean for him once a week, he was hesitant, could not afford it, we told him we would pay the bill. And we were able to get someone he knows that works there. I am a homemaker for elderly, i clean, do laundry, dishes, cook, take them on errands (shopping, hair, dr appts, etc).

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November 18, 20080 found this helpful

Don't forget this simple tip for clothing. Just like I did when my kids were small.

Hang a complete outfit on a hanger, or stack each day's apparel seperately, divider between them, so they don't have to fumble around to try and match clothes. Sometimes vision isn't what it used to be, and the darker colors can be mismatched.

Most everyone takes pride in their appearance. For example, they might be upset if they had selected brown socks and not black, to match what they were wearing.

Simple task to do weekly.

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November 18, 20080 found this helpful

Don't make a big deal out of it, but make sure that there are ready-to-eat with little preparation foods in the fridge at all times. Mother won't cook for herself ( just nibbles ) but if I have turkey breast sliced, , salad greens and sliced tomatoes, her favorite canned soups, frozen side dishes, and yoghurt, cheese and ice cream...she will eat without having to be prompted. Her mind is fine, but she gets tired really easily and will just eat crackers and coffee if that's what's in view. I need to remind her, and to eat with and prepare full meals often, but she gets along well. I'm lucky that I can do stuff like take the garbage can out and get the mail and paper. If you live away, maybe there is a neighbor or a helper that would take some of these chores...where she lives, the mail and paper delivery are a way out from the house...same with the garbage pick-up.

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November 20, 20080 found this helpful

I've read through every post and noticed no one mentioned what my 74-year-old hubby and I (a visually impaired wife) need.

Sometimes the "old home place" seems to crumble away because no one is able to do those little maintenance things or small repairs. For example: hubby worked as a plumber and general contractor for years, so knows how to do things like change faucet washers and other plumbing and building tasks. However, as his health and strength fail, he needs a younger, stronger assistant who can climb, lift, etc., for him.

I frankly have no idea how much a professional service like this would cost - but if your parents are part of a church family of any sort, perhaps they have men who would volunteer their time and strength to help with small home repairs.

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November 20, 20080 found this helpful

Take a peek in frig and see if things are still fresh and not stale like milk sometimes. Older people cannot taste as well. My mom survived my dad and she came to live with me and she loved to sit and talk to me about her past. Her mother and family and silly things we kids did. Those memories are priceless and she would get me tea during this it was so important to her as my sisters would not let her cook or

anything so I did. I would follow closely to turn down the flame, turn OFF the stove etc, but she was the best cook.

Things to keep in mind my mom started to like little things we would go to grocery store andshe would want a "surprise" so she would pick something small out for herself. At Christmas once I had a light up snowman that sang he was stuffed and cute then he went MIA.

One night I was called to her room she could not find her Vicks and there was the snowman she had "borrowed" him. Something that before would not have caught her attention. At first I was surprised but then I realized she was regressing. She would giggle and say "now, I am your baby and you are my mommy" .Oh she would worry that I would get sick and once she said " I hope nothing happens to you out there on Icy roads because then I will have to move in with one of your sisters eww.." She was a quick thinker! Well God Bless you and enjoy your time with parents. Remember to take care of yourself well. We had some days that were rather LONG and hard and stressful. So MAKE time for a cup a tea alone or something for you.

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November 25, 20080 found this helpful

We live 2 hours away from my parents, in their 90's, and have 4 grandchildren living with us so helping out with much on a daily basis or even weekly basis is difficult. One thing I do that they love, is to write to them every week. They comment many times on how they enjoy those letters. I also got them a journal type book so that their company can 'sign in' when they come to call. That reminds the folks that they have had company and when they came to call.

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December 6, 20080 found this helpful

I was so heart warmed by all your wonderful suggestions. I am a nurse who does home health care, and mainly my patients are elderly. Many of them do not have family close by or some of them have family that just don't "step up to plate" because their own lives are more important.

I have done everything that everyone suggests to help my patients. I try to do something special for their birthday and on every holiday. For example, I give filled stocking for Christmas, mini Easter baskets on Easter, etc. I buy chocolate and other candy, puzzle books, fancy body wash, coffee mugs, games, plus other silly things like Play dough, silly shaped pens or pencils, small toys, etc.

The most important thing you can do is to make THEM feel important and as independent as possible. Include them in all decision making regarding their lives, if they are able. And remember every older person has a history...a past..a wealth of wisdom, knowledge, and experience. Even if they are your own parents, they always have something new to reveal, or a story to tell. Listening(actively) is sometimes the best kindness...no matter what your age.

God Bless you all!

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January 1, 20090 found this helpful

Hello,

I have 20 years of experience, and am offering to care for your loved one within my home. I believe this alternative can save many families from the stress of sending their loved one to large facility, which in many cases does not consider how special your loved one is as a person.

My reason for opening my home up to your loved one, is that I personally have seen how scary nursing homes can be for our elderly loved ones.

For more information me, please visit my website: www.carolspage.itgo.com And, feel free to e-mail me for more information as well as for pictures of my home and where your loved one would be staying.

The amount of money many families would save is quite surprising, and the freedom and hands on care your loved one would receive is impossible to duplicate in a nursing facility. -Joan

E-mail: jcarol1160 AT gmail.com

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June 6, 20090 found this helpful

From the horses mouth; I'm one of those "elderly parents"/ age 80years young 2 months ago. My daughter helped me relocate 14 months ago (to be a 1/2 hr drive instead of 6 hrs away) She tries to take care of whatever I don't do, bless her. But when she hears I am looking for something. She may get "it" to help me out, that would be great but she shops for "sturdy stuff that will last" unfortunately these sturdy things are way heavier than I feel like using...so I park the heavy pans and plates and cups etc. out of the way or in a small assortment stacked on the counter instead of "put away" because its simpler to cope with just a few within easy reach.

When we get to my age many of us don't want or need such sturdy stuff that would last and last. and there are plenty of things out there that are rather lightweight but more than adequate...I still need an assortment of pots pans etc. because I try to cook rather than zap with microwave...I'll reheat a bit in micro.

About computer, I have somewhat learned my way around the keyboard in the last year...and it helps me keep track of day/date, time of day, and one of my "memo pads" is the calendar, with reminders of appts, birthdays etc, book return dates, bill due dates( after paid I leave the note up and add "done" so I can check there and not have to get back into checkbook/statement. And the leisure activities and emails to loved ones help the hours melt away (I'm one of those who gets limited enjoyment from T V programs).

y daughter has set up many of my monthly so they can be paid through computer as she authorizes each payment (so the payments are not automatically collected) but I still want and receive the snail-mail statements, which reassure me that things are up to date (this is because I've only partly bought into the computer being a total solution) Some cos. don't allow computer payment if they have to mail billl...so those are still handled by snail-mail.

About decluttering If someone came in here and packed away more than maybe 5 or 6 of my knick-nacks I would resent it. I can stand a little dust now and then in order to still have them in sight for my enjoyment. I suggest any such project be done in very gradual stages, and maybe replace difficult to care for gee-gaws with posters or place mats or some such pleasing to look at stuff.

That shopping list hint. I find it much harder to read things that are on colored surfaces, so a

white background and using colored markers and large enough letters would probably be the way to go.

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