We have recently passed the half way mark of another Minnesotan summer. While many individuals and families enjoy traveling and outdoor activities, there are others who are making critical decisions regarding their elderly parents or loved ones.

These discussions often center on the implications of living at home rather than a long-term care facility.  

There are several concerns that seniors report as most prominent in their lives. Neglect, exploitation, loneliness, isolation, and various forms of abuse are the most common. These fears often produce worry and anxiety if no plan exists for the necessary supports   needed to maintain their independence.  

Here are 4 recommendations to alleviate some or all of these concerns.  

1. Community involvement. Many seniors who live alone can be disconnected from other people and their immediate community. It is vital that they be engaged in meaningful relationships and social activities that promote an overall sense of purpose and well-being.

2. Additional support. Individuals with physical and cognitive limitations may require a support network that provides companionship, homemaking and other necessary services. Family members, Personal Care Attendants (PCAs), or friends can help meet those needs.  

3. Home modifications. They are used to compensate for physical impairments and limitations. Grab bars, walk-in shower and a lift chair are a few suggestions that promote safety within the home and minimize the risk of falls.

4. Strategic planning. Establish appropriate and realistic provisions that promote safety and direction. It is important to incorporate the appropriate services and supports that are necessary for now and the future. Having a comprehensive plan results in greater confidence and peace of mind for everyone.

Seniors who choose to live in the comfort and familiarity of their own home can enjoy its many benefits when they are well connected and their safety is not compromised.

Stay tuned for my next newsletter that will address the subject of independence for both seniors and people with special needs.