How You Can Protect Elderly Relatives from Afar
Caring for elderly relatives can stir up all kinds of conflicting emotions in the caregiver. Whether you have always known what your role was going to be, or if you have slowly over time become the go-to person, you now have a responsibility and duty of care. Caring for an elderly relative is stressful at the best of times, but when you don’t live in the locality, the challenge is increased.
The key to caring for loved ones from afar is being prepared. They may enjoy relatively good health now, but you need to put strategies in place to help and protect them in the future. Planning is crucial to them being able to remain at home with their wellbeing and dignity intact.
Make the Home Safe
You need your relative to be safe in their home. So next time you visit, you need to have a full and frank conversation with your relative about how you can make the home safer. People are typically resistant to change, but if you respectfully explain to them that the adjustments are to help them keep safe, they may be more open.
- Remove furniture that blocks walkways
- Remove rugs that are tripping hazards
- Rearrange the kitchen so that lifting and bending is restricted
- Improve the lighting in hallways and stairwells
- Ensure electrical cords and cables do not cross walkways
- Unclutter floors
- Use a non-slip bath mat
- Turn water heater temperature down to avoid scalds
- If necessary, install bath aids and grab rails in the bathroom
- Install and test fire and smoke alarms
- Supply a fire extinguisher/blanket for the kitchen
Making the home as safe as possible for your relative helps to minimize the risk of injury from falls or trips. You should also research medical alert systems so that your relative can easily access help in times of need. Look for a guide to medical alert systems. Knowing that your relative has local and professional support will be of great comfort to you both.
Stop the Scammers
Seniors are particularly vulnerable when it comes to fraud. While door knocking scammers are still prevalent, the most popular way to scam people comes from robocalls and texts – it’s a faceless crime.
Here are 5 steps to protecting your elderly relative from telephone fraud:
- Register the telephone number on the Do Not Call Registry.
- Install caller ID on the home phone number, and ask them never to answer the call from a number that they don’t recognize.
- Write on a note near the telephone not to answer questions or engage with unknown callers.
- If the caller asks questions, do not reply, just hang up.
- Keep a whistle near the telephone, so if the callers persistently telephone your relative, they can blow the whistle down the line.
Looking after and caring for elderly relatives is a huge responsibility, you want them to have a good quality of life that is free from distress and discomfort. While you can’t physically be there every day, you can still make a significant impact on their wellbeing and safety.