For Seniors and Caregivers: 5 Ways to Preserve Senior Independence

Marjorie Bissinger and her grandson Leon

 

5 Ways to Preserve Senior Independence

There are some key areas in which you can encourage senior independence, lower fall risks, and maintain a senior’s ability to remain independent and safe in their own home.

1.      Home Safety- Risks and Preventions: 
Conditions in the home may require a few small changes to improve safety and prevent injuries from occurring.  Cluttered areas, loose rugs, extension cords and poor lighting increase the risk for falls.  Bathroom safety features such as ramps, grab bars, slip proof adhesives, etc. can easily be obtained and installed. Have an open conversation to identify any safety concerns and explain some options for a better environment. If the goal furthers independence, then resistance may be minimal.

To further improve the household environment and assist independent living, you may consider subscribing to the JFS Homemaker service.  Since 1975, the Homemaker program has provided in-home housekeeping and transportation assistance for disabled or older adults.  CLICK HERE to learn more about the Homemaker program.

2. Personal Medical Alert System:  Installing a Lifeline Medical Alert System offers an extra layer of protection for the senior living alone. This system provides 24/7 access to assistance for any emergency.  The push of a button sends a signal to connect with a monitoring center and summon help on your behalf. The Lifeline system provides many features, including basic in-home service, auto fall detection, and GPS wireless mobile.  A Lifeline representative will help you select a system that is best suited to your lifestyle and medical needs. CLICK HERE to learn more about Lifeline.

3.      Understand cost of care:
Step back and look at your present situation. Now for just a moment, reflect on what a sudden change in health issues or an injury would mean.
Will these new needs require:

·         Additional help in the home
·         Temporary placement for rehabilitation
·         Assisted Living
·         Long Term Care living solutions

Each option presents different financial burdens. Having prior knowledge of insurance benefits, policies, and cost of services in your area is your best protection against unknown expenses.

The cost of care might be one of many topics to consider for your loved one. Are you in need of further information and resources?  JFS Senior Care Planners can provide you and your family personalized guidance and information specific for your loved one, including: home-based services, residential care options, financial planning, health insurance, and caregiver support. CLICK HERE to learn more about the Senior Care Planning service.

4.      Mental & Cognitive Health:
Seniors often hide or deny changes related to mental alertness for fear it will interrupt their current independent living situation. Caregivers, relatives and friends should take note when a senior suddenly exhibits anxiety with everyday events or activities.  Mood changes and depression may be a sign that some cognitive changes are happening. Studies show changes in mental alertness may cause them to isolate themselves and communicate less frequently. This withdrawal may cause new health care concerns to go undetected. Do not assume that all behavior changes are related to a mental decline, as improperly dispensed or missed doses of medication could be at the root of some of these issues.

JFS Counseling Services are designed to provide guidance and psychotherapy for individuals, couples, and families of all faiths.  Counseling Centers are located in Metairie and Northshore.  CLICK HERE to learn more about JFS counseling services.

5.      Support Physical Health:
Declining physical health has a great impact on maintaining a senior’s desire for independent living.  Identifying health issues early may offer the chance for treatments, therapy, and diet changes to improve their life style. All seniors should have regular doctor visits, for new onset symptoms or chronic illnesses.  Many communities offer Health Screening Fairs; these are particularly helpful for those with diabetes, heart disease, pulmonary issues or issues with blood pressure.  Both health care prevention and management are equally important.