As people get older, they can become more vulnerable to scams, falls, and medical problems. If you’re a caregiver, there are several ways to protect your older family members.
Review Their Medications
This can save someone’s life. Ensure your older family member is taking the correct medications their doctor prescribed, and at the right dose. Double check that they’re taking them at the right time of day, whether they should take them with meals, and how long they should take them.
You can use a pill organizer to remind your family member to take their medicine correctly. Check in with the doctor from time to time to verify that their prescriptions are still valid.
Check on Them Frequently
Dropping in for a visit is more than just a way to keep your loved ones company – it’s also a good way to see how they’re doing physically, mentally, and emotionally. Are they still taking out the trash? Are they bathing regularly?
If you can’t stop by in person, a phone call or video chat is the next best thing. Use this time to ask them how things are going. They may reveal that they need help with something you didn’t realize. If your parents have hearing issues or disabilities, you could use phone call captioning apps to understand what they need from you when you are not near them
Make Simple Repairs
As people age, they may have trouble making minor repairs due to physical or mental limitations. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a carpenter to fix handrails, change lightbulbs, or install a new smoke detector.
You can also protect your older family members by checking that their heating and air conditioning are in working order, repairing chairs with wobbly legs, putting down rubber mats in the shower, and securing loose floorboards.
Small fixes like this go a long way towards keeping your loved ones safe. Plus, they’ll probably appreciate that you came over to visit!
Protect Them From Scams
Older adults are especially vulnerable to scams. Scammers prey on people they assume are lonely, have lots of savings in the bank, or are mentally declining. Common types of scams include:
- Phone calls from fake Social Security workers.
- Emails claiming the recipient won a fortune.
- Pop-up ads frightening people by telling them their computer was hacked.
- Messages from apparent overseas love interests begging for visa money.
- Magazine ads for fake or overpriced wellness products like vitamins, supplements, or “miracle cure” creams.
- Celebrity imposters on social media asking for bank account info.
You can protect your family members by installing ad-blocking software on their computers, blocking the phone numbers of scammers who call repeatedly, setting up caller ID services, and reporting scams to the police. Educate your loved ones on the most common scams and how to avoid falling victim to them.
Survey Their Bank Accounts
If you have permission to do so, keep an eye on your loved ones’ bank accounts. You can make sure they’re spending their money wisely and that nobody is taking advantage of them.
For example, if your older family member hires a laborer who charges $500 to replace a sink handle, you can confront the perpetrator and demand an explanation for the charge. You can also manage your loved one’s credit and debit cards so they only spend what they need or set up automatic bill payments for recurring things like water and electric services.
Designate a POA
A durable power of attorney (POA) can make legal and financial decisions for someone if they become incapacitated or unable to speak for themselves. For example, if an older family member has a stroke, the POA can ensure their monetary assets stay in their hands.
A durable power of attorney can also ensure that a person’s medical care is carried out according to their wishes, or can make medical decisions if that person didn’t specify what they would want. For example, a person who states a preference for hospice care at home if they get sick won’t be treated against their wishes at a hospital.
Ensure They’re Eating Well
Due to fatigue, depression, or dementia, older adults sometimes stop eating properly. It’s important that they do so, however, because they still need to get enough calories and nutrients to maintain their health. Plus, eating well is an essential part of a happy life!
Bring your loved ones groceries or homemade food, or arrange for someone to cook for them regularly. You can even set up a food delivery service so they don’t have to go shopping. There are delivery services that offer everything from do-it-yourself ingredient kits to fully prepared meals.
De-Clutter Their Home
It may seem harmless, but loose rugs and clutter on the floor can be fall hazards for older family members. Having a house full of extra stuff can also be a burden on people who don’t have the time or energy to clean anymore.
You can offer your organizing skills. Some people may resist the help, but if they’re receptive, you can work with them to sort out what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. Having a clean home can also do wonders for people’s moods!
Keeping Older Adults Safe
There are many ways you can protect your older family members. Aging is a natural part of life, but you can take steps to ensure your loved ones stay safe and comfortable in the process.
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