Tips for Helping a Senior Adult Maintain Personal Health
10 May 2018
As our loved ones age, it can become more and more difficult to maintain personal health such as showering, brushing teeth, combing hair, getting the right nutrients and much more. Keeping up with personal hygiene can be a matter of pride for most people, so it can be challenging to help a loved one recognize when they are no longer meeting their own basic needs to stay healthy.
If you or someone you know is dealing with this scenario, the good news is there are a few steps you can take to make it easier for your loved one to address their personal needs and feel empowered by doing so. Take a look!
Foremost, start by explaining, in detail, what’s expected to be done each day, week or month. Your loved one may forget normal expectations or have ones that differ from yours. It’s important to get on the same page about what you want them to accomplish each day such as bathing and brushing teeth. Be sure to also explain the right process for completing these tasks such as how long or with what products.
Make it easy and accessible
Now that you have a process in place, make sure your loved one has everything he or she needs to complete these tasks. This includes purchasing various products and tools they need to complete each tasks safely and easily. The more you can streamline the process, the more likely your loved one is to keep up with their personal health.
Create a calendar
Next, consider making a calendar that shows each day and the tasks your loved one needs to accomplish on that day. You can make it like a check list they work through each morning and night. This calendar will also serve as a prominent reminder so nothing is missed.
Keep them accountable
Keep your loved one accountable for their personal health by checking in with them regularly. While a phone call is easy, you won’t really be able to see and assess the situation unless you visit in person. If you cannot visit in person frequently, consider asking a neighbor or friend to do so. If your loved one lives in a continuing care retirement community, they will have the benefit of on-site caregivers who can regularly check in and address any needs. This is a huge bonus that will give you peace of mind!
Frequently assess their changing needs
Finally and most importantly, your loved one’s needs will change over time. Don’t assume that the personal health plan you put in place a year or so ago still applies to today. Ideally, you should talk with your loved one about taking care of their personal health on a quarterly basis. Ask how they feel about their daily routine and if any task has become more challenging to accomplish. If so, work to find a solution to overcome this challenge. Overtime, these small changes will allow your loved one to maintain independence and pride. It is well worth the effort!
Which of these tips did you find most helpful? Is there another tip on maintaining personal health that you wish to share? Leave a comment below!