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Blog Feature

By: Marissa Salvesen on March 27th, 2014

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Daily Tasks: How to Make Them Easier for Your Aging Loved One

assisted living | caregiver information | caring for aging parents | Aging & Caregiving

0145 EFP120611 133137 UMH Com CO resized 600Even the most routine daily tasks can become a challenge for aging parents because of impaired fine motor skills and declining cognitive abilities. By implementing strategies around the home, such as mobility devices and memory aids, you can help your loved one transition through these changes while promoting optimal quality of life.

Mobility Matters

Maintaining mobility is a critical part of the healthy aging process. A variety of tools have been designed to improve mobility, from gadgets that help with getting dressed to long-handled “reachers” for otherwise inaccessible items.

The bathroom can be a particularly dangerous place for the elderly. Installing grab bars can help with balance and accessibility, while widened tub edges can offer stability. Bath lifts can help aging parents with both safety and self-sufficiency during washing, bathing and toilet use. In the bedroom, rails can be a valuable tool when getting in and out of bed becomes a daily struggle.

In addition to mobility tools, what is most important is ensuring that the living space itself is free of hazards. Evaluate potential risks (such as clutter, floor rugs, furniture, lighting and wiring) to help your loved one avoid injuries and prevent trips and falls.

Seeing and Hearing Help

Low vision difficulties are not only frustrating, but also dangerous. For convenience and safety, integrate talking clocks, watches, calculators and scales into your loved one's living environment. These user-friendly devices help your loved one maintain their sense of independence, while dealing with vision limitations. Talking heart and blood pressure monitors, meanwhile, encourage older adults to maintain their own health and well being.

Hobbies don’t have to be tossed aside because of failing eyesight: battery-lighted magnifiers allow for easy reading, as do television and computer screen magnifiers. Ailing eyes and arthritic fingers can benefit from large-button remote controls and televisions, large-letter keyboards and other computer amenities, such as speech software and voice recognition. Voice-activated telephones help keep the lines of communication open.

A decline in hearing can lead to a variety of challenges, from missed phone calls to a sense of isolation. Help your aging loved one stay connected by incorporating tools designed to alleviate the challenges of hearing loss. Phones, doorbells and smoke alarms are available with flashing light technology, while a vibrating alarm clock placed under the pillow guarantees that your loved one will never oversleep again, or at least most days.

Gentle Reminders

Memory loss can lead to its own serious challenges, from missed medications to flooded bathrooms. Make sure that your loved one doesn’t skip a single dose thanks to an electronic pill box with a built in alarm. Program your loved one's telephone with pictures of frequent callers and memory dial for critical social contact. Avoid catastrophe with automatic turnoff switches for electrical appliances and water. When memory fails, these mechanisms won’t.

Key Takeaways

  • Use mobility tools to enhance movement as well as promote a sense of self-sufficiency.
  • Clear living spaces of obstacles and clutter, which can lead to trips and falls.
  • Compensate for declines in hearing and sight with a multitude of modern devices.
  • Utilize handy tools, such as electronic pill boxes, to support daily tasks compromised by memory loss.
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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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