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Help Your Loved Ones Maintain Their Independence Even In Old Age

Seeing our loved ones age can be a difficult and emotional process. Of course, we know it's completely natural. After all, old age happens to all of us eventually - and that means all the different health problems it can bring. But actually witnessing it in front of your own eyes can be a lot harder, especially when it's happening to someone you love. As well as being concerned for the health of our elderly relatives, many people are also worried about the effect it may have on their own lives. For example, you may have older parents as well as young children of your own, and are worried that you may not be able to take care of both of them at once. It's perfectly natural to feel this way so it's not something anyone needs to try and suppress. But thankfully, it's not all doom and gloom. There are actually plenty of ways you can help your ageing relatives - whether it's your grandparents, your parents or your aunts and uncles - maintain their independence well into their senior years.

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Encourage them to be active

Many older people are actually much more capable than they think they are. Perhaps your ageing relative suffered a freak accident or had a bad fall that has left them without any confidence. This can indeed be a traumatizing experience, but there are ways to come out the other side too. Encourage your relative to continue to get out and about as they once did - nothing can strip a person's independence more than sitting in a chair all day. Leaving the home every day, even on a short trip out to the shop, can also help them retain mental capacity too. If your relative is nervous, offer to accompany them for as long as they need you to before they feel comfortable with doing to alone. Or, if they want to do it alone but need a little more support, suggest a walking aid such as a stick or a walking frame. Even if it's just there for a back-up, it can help many seniors get out and about again.

Get essentials delivered

There are certain times that it simply won't be feasible for your elderly relative to leave the house . For example, there may be really bad weather or they could be unwell. In these scenarios, make sure they have a back-up so that they don't go without anything, or need to rely on other people to survive. Teach them how to order groceries to their door - either by post, on the phone or online. Many websites that are intended to serve older people have very easy layouts and simple forms to fill in. So, even if your parent or aunt has never used a computer in their life before, they're sure to pick it up quickly. Medication can also be delivered door-to-door, so make sure you look into that so that your relative's health is being maintained.

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Prepare the home

Your relative may scoff at the idea of going into any kind of residential care - and, more often than not, they may not need such care. But if you are worried for their safety, have a gentle chat with them and explain that you don't feel their current property is fully equipped at present. Adding a stair lift, support bars and emergency alarms are all ways you can ensure that your relative is safe in their own home. Bay Alarm Medical is one particular company who specialises in medical alarms. These kinds of alarms enable emergency care to reach your loved one quickly, should anything happen to them. All these kind of home fixtures are invaluable as many older people are uncomfortable with the idea of leaving their own property.

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Keep them socialised

Although physical health is important as we age, the mental health of our older relatives is something that we shouldn't overlook. If your loved one lives alone, you may find that they are often lonely and bored, which can lead to bouts of depression. As you may not always be around, encourage them to keep socialising outside of the family circle as well as in it. Local community groups and coffee mornings are a great way for older people to reconnect with their peers. Or, if your loved one is still reasonably physically fit, why not suggest that they join a pilates class or a walking group. Technology can also come into play here. If you live a long way from your ageing relative, get them an iPad and teach them how to use Skype. That way, all the family can stay in touch, no matter where you are in the world.

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