The UK, like other developed countries, is seeing numbers grow in their ageing population. Healthcare improvements, research, early diagnosis of health conditions, and better education about lifestyles has meant that as a nation the UK now has 25 times more people aged over 85 than there were in 1901. Statistics have shown that we now have over 3 million people living in the UK aged over 80 with the number predicted to rise to almost 6 million by 2030. You can find out more about the UK’s population by visiting the Office for National Statistics website: https://www.ons.gov.uk/
Although we are living longer, the onset of old age does come with its own set of age-related health problems and amongst them is mobility problems. For some, the need to move to residential care may be their only option due to their failing health but for others who wish to remain independent for as long as possible remaining in their own home is essential not only from a practical standpoint but for their mental well-being.
Moving home at anytime during your life can be an anxious and unsettling time and for the elderly not wanting to move to a new home is not just about being sentimental, it is the desire to remain in a place they know well, with people they know around them and in a property that has all their familiar belongings in it.
Thankfully for many families there are plenty of practical solutions that can be put in place to let their elderly relative remain in their own home for as long as they possibly can. Addressing safety concerns such as reducing the risk of falls or burning themselves will help them to stay safe when you’re not with them.
The recent events of 2020 have also taught us that emergencies come in all shapes and sizes so preparing for any kind of emergency will ensure they can cope in a situation should the need arise. Preparing a ‘What to do if such and such happens’ will help you to cover all the most basic events that could go wrong so they know what to do and how to get help. A great way to help them find information quickly and easily is to create a folder with contact names and numbers should the worst happen. You can also add numbers for people that can help if something breaks down like the washing machine repair man or the local garage for car problems.
There are also plenty of things you can do in and around the home to help ensure they can move easily and safely. Handlebars attached to walls are a great accessory to help your relative negotiate up and down steps in and out of their home. You can also place them in bathrooms to help with showering and bathing. You may also want to invest in a stairlift so that the worry of ascending and descending stairs can be removed. Make sure you add the number of the stairlift servicing and maintenance company to your emergency contact folder in case of breakdowns and faults.
For more great ideas and advice on how to keep your elderly relatives safe in their home you can read this useful blog: https://homecareassistance.com/blog/help-elderly-parents-live-at-home