6 Ways to Stay Healthy and Delay Assisted Living
Posted on October 1, 2016 by Hayden Schoen
As a caregiver, many of us look to delay assisted living and keep our loved one independent for as long as possible. A large part of your loved one’s independence is being able to continue living in their home. Often, this is a home they’ve lived for many years, if not decades! Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to help reduce some of the major risks associated with living independently. We’ve outlined some below.
Fall hazards are one of the biggest risks for living at home. Removing as many objects that could cause an accident can help avoid unnecessary trips to the ER and serious injuries like broken hips.
- Rugs can be one of the worst culprits when it comes to tripping. If any rugs tend to slip on the floor you should apply non-slip pads at each corner. If any rugs are curling at the corner, remove them immediately. In fact, the fewer rugs you have in your loved one’s house, the better!
- Extra furniture that gets in the way of walking areas should be moved out of the way or removed completely.
- Keep counters clear of objects that could be knocked over onto the floor.
- Keep frequently used items within arms reach so your loved one won’t have to stretch or use footstools.
- Install handrails in bathrooms to help with maneuvering into and out of bathtubs.
Stay involved in your community
Maintaining and developing new friendships or joining organizations in your neighborhood will help keep your loved one active and build a positive social support. This is a proven way to stay healthy and can add years to someone’s life. Joining church groups, community groups, or volunteering are great ways to get involved. Another way is to look for groups that use talents or hobbies they’ve always enjoyed. For example, if he or she loves photography, they could volunteer to take photos for your community's weekly newsletter.
Follow all doctor-prescribed medication routines
Many hospitalizations each year are the result of mismanaged medications. Making sure your loved one takes their medication as prescribed will give them the best chance of avoiding trips to the doctor or hospital. Using pillboxes to organize medications is a great way to help manage their medications.
Another option is to use an automatic pill dispenser. These are often just like a pillbox but make it much easier to stick to a medication schedule with features like scheduled dispensing and reminders with light, sound, and text messages. Learn more about our automatic pill dispenser, Dose Dispense, here.
Learn a new skill or hobby
Help your loved one keep their mind active and independent by having them learn something new every day. This works even if it’s something small. Ask them to try something slightly new and different, like taking a different path on their normal walk, brushing their teeth with the opposite hand, or putting on the opposite shoe first. Small changes like these will help maintain mental flexibility as new challenges arise in other areas of life.
Use an alert system
Wearing an alert pendant or wristwatch can help to avoid falling and not being able to get up. It can also be a good confidence boost knowing that help is only a button press away.
Stay active with light exercise
Keeping your body strong is one of the best ways to stay home and delay assisted living. Have your loved one try these simple exercises to stay mobile. The only equipment they’ll need is a chair!
- Sit in a chair with your back straight and your knees bent.
- Slowly extend your right leg out and hold for a few seconds. Then, lower the leg.
- Repeat this with the left leg.
- Do 10 repetitions of this exercise.
Chair assisted squats
- Stand behind the chair and hold onto the top of the back.
- Slowly bend your knees as far as comfortable. You shouldn’t feel any pain while doing this.
- Return to standing and repeat 10 times.
Seated arm raises
- Sit in the chair with your arms at your side.
- Raise both arms out to a T shape and hold for a few moments.
- Lower your arms to your sides and repeat 10 times.
Remember to have fun!
Following these tips will help to keep your loved one healthy and active, allowing them to stay independent for as long as possible.