My Story: Elder Care

contributed by Charlene


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I am a nurse and until recently cared for my elderly father in my home. Here are a few ideas to help keep your elderly relative safe and calm. The medical alert device is wonderful, but not all elderly people will wear them. My Dad would not! I hope these ideas help.

  1. Meals on Wheels - This is a wonderful service and open to all elderly folks regardless of income. It is also a sneaky way to make sure a very independent elderly person is checked on a daily basis! This group will deliver a daily hot lunch meal to the person's home Monday through Friday. If the client does not answer his door, the person delivering the meal will contact the local police department. Your loved one does not need a referral to receive this service, so simply call your local Meals on Wheels.

  2. Home Health Aide - Most elderly people will qualify for Home Health Services of one kind or another for at least a short period of time. Ask his/her doctor for a referral. A Home Health aide can assist with bathing, linen and clothes changes. Homemaker services are available as well. Again, ask for a referral. Public Health services are sometimes available. They differ from Home Health. You will need to ask questions.

  3. Veterans - If your loved one is a Veteran, there are services available to keep him/her at home and cared for. Call your local VA hospital and start asking questions. They will gladly work with any other agencies providing care for your loved one.

  4. Environmental Safety - Remove throw rugs, wobbly chairs, etc. Install grab bars in the shower and by the toilet. Ramps with guide rails may be needed to assure easy access to the home. Make sure grandma is wearing sensible sturdy shoes. If a walker or cane is needed to aid in ambulation, make sure it is kept near to them. Have a box or basket within easy reach of where they sit. Fill it with necessities, such as tissues, phone, scissors, hobby materials, books, local phone book, letter writing materials, and TV remote. The list goes on!

  5. Meal Prep - Dry foods can be kept on a counter rather than on the traditional shelf. Milk and juice can be bought in smaller sizes and placed within easy reach in the fridge. Plastic bowls, cups, plates, etc. may be easier to handle than heavier glass dishes.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by mailto:MyStory@stretcher.com.

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