Living arrangements in the senior years depend on several factors, especially one’s financial resources and level of independence. The senior years should be filled with love and support from family and friends. Living in a nursing home or health care facility may not be the residence of choice for every senior. With willing family and friends, seniors who are unable to adequately take care of themselves may opt for a communal living arrangement.
However, it is important for caregivers to be familiar with the basic aspects of senior care. This ensures that the older person is safe, comfortable and not harmful either to themselves or others. Senior care should involve trained professionals but not every family can afford these services. A few simple measures can go a long way in ensuring proper senior care within the home environment makes communal living a pleasant experience for all.
A senior who needs proper care often has either a physical disability or mental impairment. The degree of mobility or cognitive functions are therefore compromised to some degree. This is seen with conditions such a stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease to name a few. In these cases the senior is either not able to care for themselves to some degree or even entirely, or they can pose a risk to themselves and others.
While constant supervision either by family or friends or a paid elderly sitter is preferable, it may not be possible for every minute of the day. Some basic measures that should be considered in terms of safety for the senior includes :
Not all of these safety measures may be applicable to every senior.
Ongoing medical care is important for the elderly, particularly those with chronic conditions and severe mental or physical disabilities. It is therefore imperative that caregivers can assist the senior in the house with travel arrangements to health facilities or a medical professional since using public transport or driving themselves may not always be feasible.
Caregivers also need to ensure that seniors adhere to medical appointments and use medication as prescribed by a doctor. A constant supply of medication must also be secured as missing medication even for a few days can be harmful with many medical conditions.
The senior years are a quieter period in one’s life which are at times marked by many hardships in all spheres of life. Caregivers should ensure that a senior is sufficiently comfortable and living in a conducive environment that allows for a senior to maintain a healthy and happy life. Simple measures can make a senior comfortable within the home environment but this extends beyond just the physical aspect.
Reducing the everyday stresses which is somewhat the norm for younger people, such as financial woes, interpersonal conflict and child rearing, should be ensured. This takes some degree of consideration and diplomacy on the part of others in the household. Although seniors can prove to be helpful with advice and assistance in every part of life, these years are for them to rest.
The idea that seniors prefer isolation is often a misconception. Seniors need social contact as much as children and adults. Caregivers should assist with joining senior citizen associations and other senior groups for entertainment and social contact, especially when a senior is living in an unfamiliar environment. Similarly it is important for seniors to have social contact with other age groups including children and younger adults.
There many advantages of communal living for seniors with family or friends rather than institutionalization. However, it does take some degree of effort on the part of both a senior and the other members in the household. Senior care should not be just the responsibility of the primary caregivers but the entire household should be involved to some degree or the other. These few simple measures and basic considerations can go a long way in making the life of a senior safer, more comfortable and happier.