Most of our clients have a similar goal, staying safely at home for as long as possible. Unfortunately, many have not considered how to make it happen. A little prior planning can make it possible.
Here are 5 things to consider:
- Planning for Transportation - Inevitably we must give up our license at some point. We have customers do so at 63, others at 97. Macular degeneration, glaucoma, seizure disorders, and dementia are some reasons why people stop driving. Let’s face it, Brevard County is too spread out for comprehensive public transportation. How do you get groceries or to doctor appointments? Know your options: volunteer organizations, Uber/Lyft, medically based transportation, and home care companies are all viable solutions depending on your need and budget. Be prepared to pre-plan appointments and schedule weekly outings.
- Planning for Nutritious Meals - It is no fun to cook for one. It’s easy to fall into quick, simple dinners that may satisfy but are not providing nutrition. Meal preparation is one of our favorite services that we provide. Many of our caregivers are also cooking for one and know how to successfully navigate a healthy diet that is satisfying and easily maintained. Prep-cooking homemade meals, shopping for healthy but delicious snack options, learning to hydrate properly, and managing what is in the refrigerator and what should be on the list are just a few ideas.
- Socialization not Isolation - One thing Covid taught us is that isolation is not good for our emotional health but also our physical health as well. Seniors often self-isolate, choosing to stay home. This lack of interaction puts them at a higher risk for dementia. People really do need people. Stay involved in your church community. Take advantage of free concerts and plays. (Join Brevard County Schools Legacy Club to gain free or reduced entrance to games, plays, and music events near your home!) Get out of the house at least two to three times a week.
- Home Repairs and Modification - Install grab bars not only in the bathroom but any area of the home where there is a step up or down. Higher seated toilets are extremely helpful. A walk-in shower with a shower chair is ideal but there are companies that can create a “door” to access the tub rather than ripping out the entire bathroom. Get rid of area rugs and clear pathways to reduce tripping hazards. If there are steps into and out of the home, plan for a ramp. Steps to a second floor may require an elevator chair. Take an honest look at your house. If it is too big or there are too many renovations needed, downsize to a one-story home in a 55+ community.
- Utilize technology - That can be as simple as a robot vacuum! If there are memory issues, automated medication boxes are the answer. A tablet (one of our clients loves her “Grand-Pad”) can let you play games to help the mind stay active and even text or facetime your grandkids! Seriously consider a personal safety device, especially if you are still active. These emergency alerts are not the “Help!” buttons from the 80’s. We provide clients with the Electronic Caregiver, a stylish version that can go anywhere with you; hiking, shopping, or when driving across country. It can provide medication reminders, activity reminders, even Bluetooth your blood pressure to the doctor’s office! It is insurance that you hope you don’t have to use but is truly a lifesaver during an emergency.
This article was featured in the Helping Seniors of Brevard Newsletter, conveniently tucked inside the June edition of Senior Scene Magazine!