Here is a video with some tips to help you when an elderly relative comes to live with you in your home:
How to Care for Elderly in Your Own Home: Senior Care (Video Transcription)
Hi, I’m Valerie Sveningson with Comfort Care Senior Services, and I’m here to show you about how to care for the elderly in your own home.
First thing you need to do is make sure that you’re able to assess that person’s needs and their level of independence. One of the things you want to do is allow them to be as independent as possible, so my suggestion would be to go to a doctor’s appointment with them, and during that doctor’s appointment, write down quite a bit of information that we’ll talk about organizing later. I would suggest asking about home care as well.
When you take on the endeavor of having a parent or another loved one come to live in your home, you’re going to need help. Many times, we have had individuals with our company who bring us in for just four hours once a week as their parents are aging in place in their homes, just so we can help them get used to having a little bit of help. You’ll see later, as you progress, the help is nice and it’s nice to have a break, because your parents or your loved one will age in place and they do tend to need a little more help as time goes on.
One of the things you need to think about as well, and take into consideration the physician’s thoughts and what they’ve told you your loved one needs: safety in your home. Safety is so important, it’s something we take for granted. When my grandmother came to live with us, it had been a long time since I had had a child in my house and I wasn’t thinking about all the safety concerns.
So many things come into play. You need to look at grab bars, for example, with showers or next to the toilet. Raised toilet seat can be invaluable. I particularly liked the one from my grandmother that was freestanding and had the armrests as well. We also did have the grab bar next to it, and that was… that worked out perfectly for her. They’re adjustable. She was a short little 84-pound woman and that worked out well for her.
We also utilized, when my grandmother came to live with us, a baby monitor, or you can just call it a monitor. This was helpful when I was out of the room, my grandmother was in her room and needed my attention, she didn’t have to yell loud. I had the monitor with me, and she would just say, “Valerie… Valerie” and I would know she needed something. That worked very, very well. And possibly you can use a monitor that you’ve had previously and just had sitting around the house anyway.
Also you need to look when you… baths, showers, if it’s a shower, there are chairs made specifically for the shower. That chair has suction on the bottom and it’s made for a shower. We’re not talking about taking a plastic chair and putting it in the shower, we’re talking about getting a specific shower chair. They usually are made to help that individual not only be safe, but a… be able to move around a little bit.
I like getting items like this scrub brush, dollar store. You can reach. Again, we want to encourage your loved one to be as independent as possible. Most of the time, they’re going to be much, much happier. This allows them to reach without straining, leaning forward, leaning too much. This is a great item.
The other thing for the shower. This is a nice mat. It has suction cups on the bottom. It’s cushioned, so it’s nice on the, the feet, and it works very well, if… particularly if it’s a bathtub shower, or you can cut it in half if it’s a walk-in shower stall. So this is something I’d also look towards. There are so many items out there. If you can think of anything you have concerns about, you can probably find something.
The one thing I want to bring up is fall prevention. Fall prevention is very important. If you think towards that, there’s just a few things I’ll mention. Clear all the clutter from the floor. Make sure there are handrails that are installed properly near the staircases. If there aren’t handrails you may want to consider using them. That’s a safety measure.
Increase lighting use and frosted bulbs to reduce the glare, but lighting in your house is going to prevent someone from running into something. As we get older, the way we see things does change.
I would suggest removing all the throw rugs. Throw rugs are such a fall hazard. It’s easier just to remove them rather than trying to pin them down.
Replace worn, or the rubber tips on the ends of walkers or canes. That is a fall risk as well. You want to have a solid, good suction as you walk along.
Arrange the furniture so there is a clear path that seems easy enough. Between that and the lighting, they should be able to get where they’re going.
The last thing I’m going to go through is I’ll quickly talk about organizing the information that you need. Probably one of the more important items when my grandmother came to live with us: two calendars, two wall calendars, and you put, you would list all the appointments in there. You’re going to have to make sure that you know when the appointments are because you’re going to probably be taking your loved one to the appointment, unless you have someone come in like non-medical home care where they can take individuals to appointments, grocery shopping, etc.
Two spiral notebooks, you can get the larger ones or the smaller ones, and the pen, and here you want to note a lot of information you’re going to need. You need all your loved ones doctors with con… contact information. A list of the chronic illnesses. Personal information that we don’t always think we’re going to need and we do: their social security number, Medicare information, supplemental insurance information. Are they a veteran? Are they the spouse of a veteran? All of those things are important.
I would also suggest making sure you have the birth date including the year. Routine bills that are paid, they may still have bills that need to be paid, and you’re going to need to take note of those. Banking information, in case you’re going to be helping with that as well.
A list of medication. It’s very important to not only list the medication but then set up medication cassettes. There are different sizes, you can get them at the dollar store, they’re inexpensive, and if they’re pre-measured out, then if you have a non-medical home care company coming in, they can give a medication reminder if it’s all measured out. Pharmacy name and contact information. We sometimes forget we need that as well.
Then lastly, you may want attorney information. That might include a living will and any other information you’d need if you were going to be the power of attorney.
I’m Valerie Sveningson with Comfort Care Senior Services, and I’ve just given you some tips about how to care for the elderly in your own home.