As we age we all have concerns about living independently. The last thing we want is to loose our independence. Sometimes a major life event, such as a death of a spouse, can bring a sudden change in a living situation. My friend’s mother was faced with this dilemma. She had suddenly lost her spouse and was uncertain of her future. Our one goal was to make sure she continued to live independently.
If possible, find a senior apartment or housing near your home. When my friend’s father died his mother lived quite far from us, and her family. The first thing we did was find senior housing close to us. This is important because they need their family and friends around them. Comparison shop, and once you find a senior apartment for them, apply immediately. There can be a long waiting list for senior housing. It was three months before an apartment became available for my friend’s mom.
Make copies of all medications, wills, and all other important documents. When we got ready to move her to her new home, we made sure we had copies of all her important documents. If something happens you need to be prepared. There were a few times she was rushed to the hospital, and it was crucial that we knew all her medications, doctors, and ailments. Make sure if they are taking medication, they have a medic alert bracelet.
Surround your loved one with friends and family. She was the dearest lady, and she was a great friend. My friend’s son would stay overnight with her to keep her company. We would take her out for lunch, shopping, and road trips. Having family around is also important in case you need a break, or are going away for a period of time. They can help check in on her, and keep her company.
Keep your loved one mentally fit. This is important for the well-being of your loved one both emotionally and physically. My friend’s mom did make a lot of friends. They would have holiday events, crafting parties, and game night. Once she started theses activities, we noticed such a difference in her demeanor. She seemed more like herself, and very content. It is great when they make friends, because they can watch out for each other. This was a great help to us. She had made a best friend, and if she was having problems she didn’t want us to know about, her friend would let us know. This information was invaluable to us.
Make sure to keep a close watch on any physical or mental changes. Most of the time our loved will keep problems to themselves. This is what happened to us. One night when his son was visiting her, he noticed that something seemed off. Also, her best friend alerted us to changes she had noticed in her behavior. Some signs that alerted us to the problem were her change in activity, appetite, and mood. She was having dizzy spells and had fallen. She didn’t want anyone to know. I think this is a big fear that faces your loved one. They feel if something happens you may take away their independence. You need to reassure them that no matter what happens, you will do everything possible to keep them living independently.
Talk to your local agencies on aging. They have great programs that will help your loved one keep their independence. One great program offered is Meals on Wheels. Meals are delivered to your loved one who are home-bound. For more information and help with independent living for seniors go to www.selfhelp.net.