The festive season brings people together in celebration of the holidays and the pending new year. It is a time of generosity and opportunity to offer a helping hand to your loved ones.
While visiting your elderly relatives or friends, it is important to take note of any changes in wellbeing or living standards. A messy house, empty fridge or poor hygiene are all indications that they may be struggling and could need support.
Mobility can decline as people age, and chronic conditions such as arthritis, or injuries and illnesses can make navigating the home challenging.
Take note of any parts of the home that may be causing difficulty such as stairs, an elevated shower or the backyard.
Modifications can be made to aid safety such as safety switches and handles or installing a walk-in shower or a chair lift to replace the stairs.
Keep an eye out for any signs of disarray in keeping up to date with bills and finances. Australian Government website ‘Money Smart’ provides ideas and services for managing expenditure in older age.
It also contains information on how to access support services to make everyday tasks, such as paying the bills, a bit easier.
Keeping the fridge stocked
Checking the fridge is a great way to assess the daily living standard of your loved one. Physical limitations may prevent them from accessing the shops or their ability to prepare a healthy meal. It may be an indication that they need some in-home support to achieve these daily tasks.
Beyondblue reports that isolation is a growing issue in older Australians. The holiday period can be a particularly lonely time for the elderly: friends and neighbours go away, doctors and community centres close, and the heat may make it difficult to leave the house.
Sitting down to have a chat with your loved one to discuss how they are coping can be the most effective way to alleviate any feelings of loneliness.
Physical and mental changes are part of getting older, but there are many support services that can make day-today living that little bit easier. Paired with the support of family and friends, your loved one can continue to live in their home independently for many years to come.
Words by Susanne Jones, Just Better Care Brisbane North and CBD