Community Blog

Questions to Determine Safe Senior Independence

By Debbie Humphrey

Independent: not requiring or relying on others (as for care or livelihood); not requiring or relying on something else*

As we prepare for one of our nation’s most patriotic and one of my favorite summer holidays, July 4th or Independence Day, let us not forget the senior citizens in our lives who have lived through some very challenging experiences over the years. They could be your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors or friends.

Regardless of the relationships you share, your special senior someone probably wants to age in place at home, like most. Please take some time to examine if safe senior independence is possible, or if a certain level of help may be required to keep them safe, healthy and happy at home.

When you visit an aging adult, how do they appear physically? Are they a fall risk? Do they require a cane, walker or other device to get around safely? Monitor how they are moving about when visiting them, and check for fall or tripping hazards like electrical cords that cross common walkways and slippery throw rugs.

I recommend you make a mental note about their personal hygiene practices, also. If a senior is losing their ability to bathe themselves regularly or brush their teeth or dentures, there may be an underlying issue pertaining to their ability to take care of these very important tasks.

Speaking of bathing, slips and falls in the bathtub or shower are prevalent among aging adults. Are there hand grips in the bath & shower to help prevent such accidents? Does the tub have a textured floor or appliqués to help prevent slipping? Are electrical appliances stored safely away from water sources?

Most seniors take prescriptions for a variety of conditions. In practically all cases, medications must be taken as directed to avoid certain side effects or negative reactions. Are your loved ones taking their meds as directed or do they forget? Do they have a pill reminder box to separate daily medications and prevent over or under dosing? Is your special senior someone able to fill this box appropriately, or does someone take care of that for them?

Depression is common among seniors who live alone. How is your senior loved one’s state of mind? Are there signs they might be lonely or depressed? As seen almost nightly in the national news, statistics for suicide continue to rise, and mental health concerns are becoming more prevalent across the board. This is a major concern for people of all ages, but especially seniors.

Social engagement is crucial for a healthy quality of life. How engaged are your senior loved ones? Are they participating in activities they enjoy? Are they communicating regularly with family and friends?

When you answer these and other questions about seniors who live alone or wish to remain independent, please be honest with yourself and them. If you notice any red flags or are unsure if there is a need, I am happy to assess the situation in a FREE consultation with you and your loved one at your convenience. You are under no obligation to enlist our services, but it is a great opportunity to learn more  about beneficial resources in our area and what a caregiver can do to lend a hand!

Home Helpers® is honored to have received the Provider of Choice 2017 & 2018 awards from Home Care Pulse, and we proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539

*Merriam-Webster Dictionary