If you find yourself caring for an aging family member, you’re not alone– there are at least 36.4 million providing care for an aging family member in the United States.
Though you’re already doing a great job (we see and applaud you), it’s important to know when to ask for help. For a little extra support, read on for our favorite safety tips when caring for the aging adult in your life.
Perform a Needs Assessment
When you begin to care for an aging family member, assess each category to ensure their needs are effectively met. Ask questions like–
- Family Support - What other family members are available to help in a pinch, or on a regularly scheduled basis?
- Home Safety - What needs to be improved in the home to avoid falls and support mobility?
- Medical Needs - Does your loved one require medication or close monitoring due to a medical condition?
- Cognitive Health - How is your loved one’s short/long-term memory or problem-solving capacity?
- Mobility - Does your loved one require the use of a mobility aid (wheelchair, cane, walker, etc.) in order to move about the home?
- Wandering Prevention - Do they require a certain level of wandering prevention in order to keep them safe? What kinds of tools could be useful to you and your loved one in these situations?
- Personal Hygiene - Does your loved one need help bathing or dressing?
- Meal Preparation - Does your loved one have special dietary needs or require assistance in making meals?
- Social Interaction - Does your loved one have regular social engagements to attend with friends, or do family members frequent the home? How will they get to these social engagements?
Don’t feel as if you need to handle every one of these categories by yourself. If possible, try to share tasks with other available family members or seek additional resources.
Prepare Their Living Space
Most of us want to live in our homes for as long as possible. Unfortunately, most of our homes were not built with mobility limitations in mind. Perform a walk-through of the space and make adjustments to protect your loved one from a fall or any discomfort.
Eliminate Fire Hazards
Every home can benefit from checking batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis. Check and replace any damaged electrical cords, and remove candles from the home if you are concerned about the risk. Make sure there is a fire extinguisher accessible in the home as well.
Ensure a Safe Bathroom
The bathroom can be a high fall risk for many older adults. Install preventative measures like grab bars near the toilet or in the shower, and a bath mat in the shower to prevent slipping. Determine if they will need any bathing accommodations like a bathing chair or handheld showerhead.
Your loved one may choose to spend a lot of time in the kitchen as a place of comfort. Make sure that they can easily reach items like plates in the cabinet or food in the refrigerator. If your loved one forgets to eat, leave reminders and easy-to-open snacks around the kitchen to encourage healthy eating habits.
Is the home poorly lit? Is it difficult to navigate a clear walking path? Replace any burnt-out light bulbs or install motion detectors that will illuminate a clear path for your family member as they move around the house.
Create a Comfortable Bedroom
Your loved one may spend many quiet, private hours in their bedroom. Make sure that it is safe and comfortable by providing a supportive mattress. If they require mobility assistance, fit a grab bar to allow them to get in and out of their bed independently.
Keep Emergency Numbers Visible
Always keep a list of emergency phone numbers and contacts near the phone. These numbers should include:
- Relevant family members, friends, or neighbors
- The number of the professional caregiving service (if applicable)
- Your loved one’s healthcare provider
- Poison Control (1-800-222-1222)
- Your own contact information
If they’re using their own cell phone, make sure that they know how to unlock and use it effectively before being left alone. If your loved one is visually impaired, try a model with a larger keyboard and display window. You can also adjust fonts to make it easier for your loved one to read messages and input the correct phone number.
Communicate With Your Family Member
Your loved one will appreciate autonomy and open communication. Involve them as much as possible when planning for their care. Remember to be sensitive, and allow them to ask questions. Try not to force change too quickly.
If you choose to use a GPS tracker for your elderly loved one for peace of mind, explain to your loved one why it needs to be used. If they are lucid, explain to them that it allows for greater independence while also giving their caregiver the ability to see when or if they need help.
Assess Your Own Needs
Remember– as a primary caregiver for your aging parent or relative, it’s just as important to take care of yourself. Perform a daily or weekly “scan” of your mental and physical wellbeing by asking yourself these questions:
- Am I experiencing physical signs of stress like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, or headaches?
- Am I taking time for myself?
- Am I eating well and exercising regularly?
- Are my loved one’s needs increasing?
No matter your level of dedication to your loved one’s care, you cannot reasonably keep your eyes on them at all times. If it takes a tool like Jiobit to shoulder some of the cognitive load of caring for your loved one, why wait? Let a GPS tracker like Jiobit serve as an extra monitoring tool when you need another pair of eyes.
Protect Your Loved One With Jiobit
Sometimes, all of the preparation in the world can’t help stop an unexpected emergency. In moments like these, prepare yourself with tools that keep you connected with your loved ones– like a Jiobit GPS tracker.
The Jiobit is intended to provide peace of mind while caring for an aging loved one by sending real-time alerts about your relative’s location–no matter where they are. Receive notifications when they leave or arrive at any location you choose. You can even invite other family members to join your “Care Team” and they will get the same alerts and tracking capabilities.
If you use Jiobit for seniors, a Jiobit Protect subscription will allow 911 emergency responders to get the real-time location of the individual in danger, without the need for a cell phone. Learn more about the safety and security features for the loved one in your care available with Jiobit Protect.