When considering the nursing home option for parents or other loved ones, here are a few of the main advantages to keep to mind:
Better resources and equipment: Private homes simply don’t have the types of medical equipment and supplies needed to help seniors stay healthy. Many nursing homes are almost as advanced as hospitals in their ability to provide sophisticated care for patients on a 24-hour basis.
High-quality long-term care: Due to modern medicine, seniors now live longer than ever. While we’re thankful for this, longer life-spans often come with longer periods of late-life illness and disability. Caring for a senior relative at home is often a long-term commitment of many years, sometimes requiring intensive care.
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Older people might not develop diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis and similar, however these conditions are easier developed by the senior population than by the younger among us. Sadly they are higher risk people and the caregiver has the obligation to help them reduce these risks whenever possible.
It is important that the home is a safe haven for the seniors. Falling anywhere in the home can happen easily so reducing the risks of them having an accident is important. When the person is leaving their home or returning back, particular care needs to be taken with curbs and slippery areas. Most of the injuries though happen at home, so this is why it is important for the caregiver or the family to ensure proper safety as well as making the room easily accessible.
Stairs are usually high risk for elderly simply because the older a person gets, the more difficult it becomes to go up or down the stairs due to arthritis and the inability of bending the knees as one used to do. Stairs can be poorly lit which makes them even more dangerous. In some places installing a stair lift should solve many of the problems that staircases present to the seniors. However having proper lit stairways is important as well regardless whether there is a lift or not in the house.
Proper lighting is useful in the entire home, not only around the stairs. Various corridors and tighter areas should have small lamps for ensuring that there are no dark areas in the home. Many people install sensor lights whereby the light will turn on anytime there is motion around the area. After a few minutes the light turns off automatically, which makes sure that there are no high electricity bills running due to leaving the light on all day and night.
The bathroom is another room in the house that needs special handling when a senior citizen is living there. Proper lighting gives an additional layer of safety in the bathroom. The place should be well lit and light switches should be easily accessible upon entrance.
As the bathroom floor tends to be slippery by nature due to the water splashed, regular carpet mats should be replaced with non-slip mats that do not move and slide around. Sometimes commercial mats such as those used in the kitchen can work quite well too. Also adding grabbing bars next to the toilet, sink area, as well as the shower is a great idea and will enhance the safety of the person using the bathroom. Even towel bars could be replaced by grab bars for added security.
Finally adding wide non-skid tape to high-risk places, such staircases, curb areas and bathroom floors makes the home additionally safe for elderly, and not to forget small children, who are very easy to fall and bruise as well.
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Communication is an important aspect of healthy and independent living. Communication not only involves talking and writing but we also need to listen, watch, sense and read language.
Some seniors experience decreased senses (vision, hearing). Communication aids can make communication easier.
Some communication aids and tips include:
- pens and pencils that are thicker or wrapped in rubber so that it is easier to grasp
- heavier pens and pencils are easier to use for people who have shaky hands
- heavy lined paper and a thick pen tip for those with decreased vision
- a computer as you can increase the font and can print in large thick font
- computers can also have adapted keyboards, mouses, accessible programs (large font, etc) and even voice recognition programs that translate voice into text
- ensure proper lighting
- use a magnifier
- consider a magnifier with a built in light
- page turners
- books and other media in audio format (audio books)
- speech devices that display message on screen
- picture based computer or print based systems
- letter and symbol boards
- voice amplifiers
- hearing aids
- headset amplifiers
- door bell and telephone conversion (light and bell signals)
- amplified telephone
- large buttons and display on phone
- picture based speed dial buttons
- voice operated telephone
- loud ringer and/or light based signal
- teletypewriter (TTY) device for those who are hearing impaired
- large remote control
- large TV screen
- use captioning option on TV