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How to Help an Elderly Parent Maintain Their Independence

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Our parents gave everything in order for us to have a good start in life and we owe them so much; part of the cycle of life is watching our parents age; despite the best of care, human beings degenerate over time and when one of your parents pass, this leaves a void that is impossible to replace. If your mother or father are living alone, they no doubt value their independence and stubbornly refuse to relocate, which is perfectly understandable. 

There are a few things that you can do to help a parent retain their independence.

Medical alert devices

Technology sees the birth of many innovations and one is the use of medical alert pendants, devices that are wirelessly connected to a care network and the wearer only needs to press the SOS button to instantly alert a carer. This is a subscription service and when your mother or father wears this pendant, you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are being monitored 24/7. There is a device for use at home and this connects with the pendant, sending data via satellite.

Make their home mobile friendly

While you wouldn’t normally interfere with how your mum or dad has their home, there are some practical applications that make getting around the home a bit easier. Start with the bathroom, where there are hard surfaces and sharp corners; buy a few rubber bath mats and locate them to prevent a fall. Some elderly people struggle with the toilet; you can install a supporting handrail and do the same for the bath.

Mobility scooter

If mum likes to visit friends or the local shop, why not get her a mobility scooter? There are indoor and outdoor models; search with Google to find a mobility scooter supplier near you and take a look at the various models. Easy to use and very safe, there are fold-away models that can be put in the car, so they can enjoy country walks. Here are a few ways that you can improve your smile if life has been getting you down.

Stairlift

Getting up and down the stairs can be challenging for those with mobility issues, which is where the stairlift comes into play. You can buy or rent a stairlift, which is installed by experts. The electric device automatically recharges from the mains and with a handy remote, the user does not require any assistance to operate the stairlift.

Walking frame

 An aluminium walking frame is fully adjustable and prevents accidents; you can order online and take it with you next time you visit. Of course, he or she might not take to the idea, but remind them that this is a practical tool to aid movement.

We recommend you teach your mother or father how to use Skype, so you can have daily video calls and the medical alert pendant ensures they have communication with a manned network of health professionals. Their health and well-being should be a focus and regular contact is a must; click here for Australian government advice on supporting someone.


Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.

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