Ways to support seniors to stay at home longer
Wanting the very best of care doesn’t have to mean looking elsewhere for residential care options. You can make the most of opportunities to support loved ones to stay well at home, where home comforts and familiar environments can nurture wellbeing and encourage good health.
Help older people stay home for longer by keeping physically active
If the thought of exercise makes you groan, think again! You could set a great example for seniors close to you by doing regular activity and you can both get the health benefits.
Keeping physically active for better health can mean doing what you can, when you can. The recommended effort is [only] 30 minutes a day. Making it a part of your daily routine makes it less of a chore. Your brain loves to automate things. Create a daily habit and soon you won’t even think about it!
Make it social – join a walking group in your area. Exercising outdoors has the bonus that maintaining appropriate physical distancing is achievable in groups. If you need extra help or have an injury, speak to a physiotherapist who can conduct an individual assessment and get you back on track to exercise safely.
These days it’s even easier to use technology to bring people together and help you keep fit:
- Use a fitness tracking app on your phones to set and monitor goals and daily activity. Make it a friendly competition to get more steps in.
- We like the idea of good old-fashioned connecting with others. Check in with friends/family and keep each other accountable with a text to say you’ve completed your daily walk, or your pilates or yoga. Encourage others while celebrating your accomplishments!
Yes, you can count chores as incidental exercise! Mopping and vacuuming? Washing the car? Tidying the yard and garden? Check!
Maintain routine health checks for seniors at home
Choosing to stay home rather than moving to a residential care facility doesn’t mean forgoing health and medical care. It’s vital for seniors to maintain regular appointments with a family doctor and attend to regular health checks.
Maybe you need to help a senior close to you to access routine medical check-ups. You might find a GP to home visit, or look into home health options such as home-based nursing and rehabilitation.
As a top priority, consider any chronic health conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, vision or hearing, among others, that can have longer term complications if not managed well. For specific advice for a range of conditions, Health Direct’s fact sheet helps you manage your health in your 70s and older.
Encourage seniors to keep a healthy lifestyle to stay at home longer
Looking after yourself is always important, but sometimes it can be the last thing you think of. Perhaps family or health worries are taking their toll on your loved one’s ability to plan ahead and make healthy choices. Look for ways to support them to maintain a healthy meal plan and a healthy lifestyle.
When you stop by to visit, be mindful of what you’re bringing along as a “treat”. Consider how you might sometimes take shortcuts and eat unhealthy convenience food when you’re feeling stressed or just can’t be bothered. So maybe take your older family member or friend a home-made soup or some local produce.
Instead of adding more drinks to an event, take a game you all can enjoy after meals. Tip: fun games with family and friends can also provide great distraction for someone going through quitting smoking!
There are a range of health professionals that can help support a healthy lifestyle, such as dieticians, physiotherapists, nurses and your local doctor.
Keep an active mind for a better chance of a healthy and full life into old age
Creative pursuits aren’t just for weekends. Keeping your mind active will have overall health benefits any time. From reading, brain games, and learning, to maintaining active social connections, keeping the “ol’ grey matter” busy keeps it sharp and improves your wellbeing.
It’s not all jigsaw puzzles and crosswords – although these do help. Trying a new skill will keep the mental cogs turning. Online masterclasses abound, from photography to creative writing and music. Or dip into some more technical fields – try using a new app on your mobile, or learn how to use Pinterest to share your creative ideas.
Local libraries are great for online resources as well as traditional books. Find out what else you can explore, from audiobooks to tutorials and workshops.
Be informed about home care options to support seniors to stay at home longer
One of the best ways to help your loved ones stay well long into the future is to plan ahead and be ready for the changes that might be needed.
Having an understanding of the aged care system will give you confidence to navigate the choices ahead. Being informed about eligibility for home care services before they’re needed is going to make it easier to organise all the right supports.
Being aware of services for seniors at home is going to be a big help to support your loved ones with the care they need to live well at home.
If you need help with home care or physiotherapy call Nicole Dunn (0404 444 985) who can tailor a plan to your situation.
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Other useful sources to support seniors stay at home longer: