Tips for Keeping the Elderly in Their Own Homes

As seniors age, they tend to experience cognitive and physical limitations that affect their ability to complete normal everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, taking medications and managing their finances.

Helping seniors age in place is a great way to promote quality of life in one’s later years. But how can we keep seniors in their homes as long as possible when they may not be able to cope with living alone?

The following services and strategies can help the elderly stay in their own homes and avoid institutionalization in a hospital or nursing home:

  1. Housekeeping Service – hire outside help for household chores

Aging seniors tend to have physical limitations or disabilities affecting their endurance and strength. This can make it hard to perform routine household tasks such as:

  • Cleaning the bathtub
  • Washing floors
  • Changing bed sheets
  • Doing laundry
  • Tidying the bathroom
  • Vacuuming the home

To help overcome this, a housekeeping service can be hired to come into the home to provide assistance. 

This support can be started less frequently such as once a month if one is still able to complete some household chores. When the elderly have significant disability, housekeeping support is usually better with visits once a week.

DisabilityFrequency of housekeeping support
Less disabled, more capableOne visit every two to four weeks
More disabled, requires increased supportOne visit every week

To supplement any house cleaning service, a robotic vacuum can be used to roam the home and pick up dirt.

  1. Senior Meal Delivery Service – have a senior catering service deliver frozen or hot meals for consumption

Cooking a nutritious meal is a demanding activity that involves:

  • Gathering ingredients
  • Following a series of sometimes complicated preparation steps
  • Monitoring the entire process closely to avoid any errors or kitchen fires

Furthermore, seniors may have trouble or experience pain with standing at the kitchen sink to wash and prepare food. They may also not have the energy or muscle strength to stay by the stove and mix food on the frying pan.

A good alternative that requires less effort to prepare dinner is the use of a senior meal delivery service.

These services usually offer a wide variety of meal choices that can include warm meals that are ready to eat, and frozen meals that can be stored in the freezer and heated as needed when hungry.

Many of services have custom tailored meal kits that can be suitable for specific dietary restrictions such as:

  • Low salt diets for better cardiovascular health
  • High protein meals for improved recovery following surgery and rehab
  • Low fat dinners to promote weight loss
  1. Telephone Safety Check In Service – a service that calls at pre-scheduled intervals to ensure the senior is doing well

A common problem with living alone is that seniors may fall, and be unable to get up or reach the phone to call for assistance. Some individuals might even spend hours or days on the floor before help arrives.

Sometimes a phone call to check in and make sure everything is alright is all that is needed to provide reassurance that a senior is doing well.

When safety check-in calls are not answered, family can be alerted to follow up or emergency authorities can be contacted to pass by for a safety visit.

If unable to afford a check in service, family or close neighbors can call or drop by the door to ensure everything is okay.

  1. Grocery Delivery Service – reduce trips to the store by having food and essentials delivered to the home

Getting groceries is a labor intensive activity that involves:

  • Getting appropriately for the weather to leave the home
  • Driving or arranging a ride to the grocery store
  • Walking through numerous aisles to search for the desired groceries
  • Carrying the heavy bags of food and household items into the home

A good alternative is to utilize a grocery delivery service that will pick the items you request from their warehouse and deliver it to your door.

While the delivery fee can be expensive compared to going to the store to do your own shopping, it is important to consider the time and energy saved by having everything conveniently show up in a neat package at your door.

  1. Medical Alert System – a button worn on wrist or pendant around the neck that can be pushed to call for help in case of a fall or other emergency

Seniors that have a fall usually struggle to get up on their own.

By wearing a portable alert bracelet or pendant, one is able to seek assistance right away by pressing a button. A timely response can be critical, especially if one sustains a serious injury such as a hip fracture.

Moreover, falls can cause someone to lose consciousness, especially if striking the head on the way down. Even if someone is unable to press the button, the monitoring service can notify contacts and dispatch first responders by automatically detecting falls through its body worn devices.

Tip: Not all medical alert systems have automatic fall detection capabilities. Lifeline is one of the providers that offers this feature.

  1. Medication Reminder Service – have a calling service to remind a senior to take their medication

A common challenge amongst the elderly is remembering to take medications at the right time.

By using a call service that phones during medication administration times, a senior can be reminded to adhere to their treatment and take their pills.

A phone call reminder to take one’s medication can help with compliance and improve disease management.

A benefit of improved medication compliance is a better quality of life through optimal disease management and symptom control.

  1. Financial Management Support – setup pre-authorized and automated payments to ensure bills are paid on time

It can be difficult to keep track of all of one’s household expenses and the never ending cycle of new bills. 

By simplifying the process through pre-authorized billing, funds can be taken out of the bank automatically and payment deadlines will not be missed.

This can help seniors avoid unnecessary trips to the bank or phone calls to their institution to request a transfer of funds. By simplifying the management of their finances, a senior can avoid late fees and focus on other aspects of living.

  1. Landscaping and Snow Removal Service – maintain the yard and clear the driveway or walkways of snow with hired help

Some cities and towns have bylaws that require the yard be well maintained and pathways cleared a certain number of hours after snowfall. Maintaining the outside of one’s home is extremely demanding and physical work, something a senior may not be able to perform.

Hiring a landscaping contractor or snow removal service can be essential to property maintenance, and maximizing safety with entering or exiting the home.

A well kept exterior helps raise property value, and can also improve safety by reducing slips on ice and clearing obstacles from sidewalks.