According to the U.S. Census about 80 percent of Americans over the age of 65 live at home. If your grandparents are healthy enough to be living at home, there’s a chance they may need your help with a few chores around the house. However, if they don’t ask for assistance, it might be difficult to find the best ways to help. They might even be resistant to your help, so before you climb up on Grandpa’s roof to fix those lose shingles, consider these tips from MayoClinic.com
- Remember that your loved one may have physical pain, an illness or cognition problems you’re not aware of. Before you assume they’re just being stubborn or cranky, find out if there’s something deeper going on.
- Find out their preferences. Take the time to ask Grandpa what he needs will most, and how he likes things to be done.Ask the family to pitch in. If home repairs are out of hand, enlist other family members to do their part. It may take the whole family to convince Grandma that she needs assistance.
- Approaching your grandparents with the attitude of “I want to help you because I appreciate all that you’ve done for me” instead of “You’re obviously too old to take care of things by yourself.” This will start the conversation off on a positive note.
Addressing unsafe conditions in the home is the best way to help your grandparents. The CDC reports that about one-third of those 65 years and older will suffer a fall, and falls are the leading cause of non-fatal and fatal injuries among older Americans. Help prevent falls with these tips:
- Remove small areas rugs that slide or bunch up.
- Fix damaged or uneven floors and make certain carpets are securely tacked in place.
- Install grab bars near the tub and toilet.
- Install railings to both sides of stairways.
- Replace burned-out light bulbs and improve lighting if needed.
Consider also checking to ensure the door locks function properly, and test/install fire alarms and a radon detector.
Help your grandparents by making sure their home is ready for winter.
- Hire a professional to clean and maintain the fireplace and ensure it’s in good share for the cold winter months ahead.
- Check windows and doors for adequate weather stripping—if you feel cold air coming in, there’s a problem. A simple way to insulate windows for the winter is by using a shrink-wrap insulation kit which can be found at your local hardware store.
- Check the attic for insulation. While insulating the attic might sound daunting, opt for the insulation that comes in rolls so that all your job involves is cutting strips and placing between the wood panels. According to Energy.gov rolls and batts of insulation are available in standard widths to fit most attic floors. With a minimal amount of effort you can make a big difference to your grandparents’ comfort and budget.
If one or both of your grandparents have reached a stage that requires more help than the family can provide, it may be time to discuss moving into an assisted living community. Assisted living communities in Mesa Arizona offer a variety of care levels that help seniors stay as independent as possible.
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