Last week, we discussed the signs that indicate that your elderly parent is not safe to live in their home alone. Click here for a recap in case your missed it. Over the next two weeks we will discuss what options are available to older adults that are not safe at home alone. We’ll also discuss how much each option costs and how to pay for it. This week is all about ways to stay at home with extra support.
The first thing to do is identify the problems limiting your loved one’s safety. Then you can figure out how to fix each specific problem. Make sure you’ve read last week’s blog post for a detailed list of possible problems. I’ve listed solutions below for many of the most common limitations you might find.
Assist with meal planning and preparation
- Check out Pinterest for simple freezer meals or instant pot recipes that can be prepared in bulk and then warmed up individually.
- Sign up for a meal delivery service like Meals on Wheels.
- Contact your local agency on aging for more details on what’s available in your area.
- You could also order groceries from Amazon pantry or make arrangements for delivery service from your grocery store.
Arrange for transportation
- The area agency on aging may be able to assist with transportation. Otherwise reach out to friends, family members, your church family, etc. and see who’s willing and able to assist with transportation to and from appointments and other errands. If you’re more technologically savvy, there are a few additional options.
- GoGoGrandparent is a concierge service for seniors. They connect elderly adults with on-demand ride services like Uber and Lyft. They are a great choice for seniors that can get in and out of the car independently.
- Veyo is a company that some medical insurances work with to get seniors to and from medical appointments. They can provide special vehicles to accommodate wheelchairs or stretchers. Contact your love one’s insurance company to find out if they work with Veyo. If they do, there should be no cost to you.
- ITNAmerica is a company that provides transportation for older adults that need more help than a taxi can provide. They physically assist with getting in and out of the car as well as getting in to their destination. In their words, they provide “arm-through-arm, door-through-door” assistance.
Make necessary home modifications and arrange for assistance with home management
- Check out this article for ideas on where to start with home modifications.
- Contact your area agency on aging to see if they have volunteers that can assist with home maintenance or modifications. This could include installing grab bars, chopping wood for the winter, yard work, etc.
Assist with medication management
- There are many ways that you or another helper can assist with proper medication management.
- Fill a medicine box weekly or daily.
- Call during scheduled medication times to make sure that medications are being taken properly.
- Have someone physically come over during each medication time to ensure that they’re getting taken
- There are many companies that help make medicine management easier by offering home delivery or they can package the pills into individual doses. I’ve listed a few examples below.
- Pill pack
- They sort medications into pre-filled packets. That way, every pill that you need to take at a certain time of day is in one package. They also deliver them to your home.
- CVS multi-dose packs
- If you prefer your local pharmacy, places like CVS can also sort pills into pre-filled packets. Ask your pharmacy if they offer a similar service.
- Pill pack
Purchase a senior alert system
- There are several different brands, and I do not currently recommend one over another. Some only work in the house, others work in the community. Some immediately contact emergency medical responders while others attempt to contact a family member first. Regardless of the brand and the specific features, they all aim to provide peace of mind for older adults and their loved ones.
- You’ll have instant access to tons of helpful information just like this article.
- Click here to sign up for a free, downloadable form that I created just for you.
Downsize to a smaller or more accessible home
- Some older adults would be perfectly fine living alone if only their home was more accessible. If downsizing to a smaller, more accessible home improves your elderly loved one’s safety, then it’s worth considering.
Hire help to assist with daily needs
- Hire someone to assist with daily tasks like bathing, dressing, pet care, daily exercise, or housekeeping. They can also simply provide companionship if that’s what’s needed.
- This type of non-medical care typically costs about $20/hour.
- You can go through an agency or hire someone on your own. Check out this article for details on this topic.
How will you pay for all this?
- Most of the items listed above will be paid out of pocket. If your elderly loved one has long term care insurance then they may pay for some of the in home care needs. They also might pay for necessary home modifications. Contact the insurance company for details.
- Often, services provided through the area agency on aging will be free.
- For additional financial assistance, do some research on:
- Federal or state rent or subsidy programs
- State rent rebate programs
- State property tax relief programs
- Using home equity to finance your loved one’s needs.
Click here to download a copy of Housing Options for Older Adults: A guide for making housing decisions. This guide was put out by eldercare.gov which is affiliated with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
Next week we will continue this discussion to include other housing options if no amount of support is going to allow your elderly love one to continue living in their home. In the meantime, sign up for the document that I’ve attached below. It might help you buy some time while you make arrangements for all the other items listed above.