Successfully Downsizing And Decluttering Aging Parents Homes

Couple helps parents downsize their home by packing valuables in boxes

All of us have had to move for one reason or another. From the college freshman who’s living away from home for the first time to the young adult in their first apartment to the couple about to become homeowners, moving is an integral part of our lives. While it can be an exciting experience in many ways, It’s also one of the most overwhelming experiences, too. 

Sorting, packing, unpacking, rearranging and acclimating to a new place. None of those moving activities are fun. In fact, they’re pretty stressful. However, if you think those things are no fun at your current age, imagine how much more difficult they will be when you’re a senior. 

When seniors have to downsize and relocate to a new home, all of that sorting, packing, unpacking and acclimating to a new environment aren’t just physically exhausting – they’re mentally and emotionally taxing, too. Seniors are just assessing and packing objects; they’re reflecting on a lifetime of memories and experiences. To them, the move doesn’t signify the start of a new beginning. To them, decluttering, downsizing and moving to a smaller home, apartment or their adult child’s home is the beginning of the end. 

If your elderly parents refuse to downsize and move into a more suitable residence, please understand that you’re not alone. This experience is quite common for most families. However, with equal parts patience, empathy and planning, you can help make this phase of your senior parents or relatives lives more pleasant for everyone. 

To help your senior loved ones successfully organize their belongings and relocate to their new residence simply follow these helpful steps.

Start Cleaning and Organizing Early

If your aging parents haven’t reached the point when they need to downsize, you can help them get a head start on the organizing process now – without having to approach the subject of moving in the near future. 

Help them with their spring or fall cleaning. Use this as an opportunity to help them take stock of their possessions. In the guise of everyday cleaning and sorting, they’ll often be more receptive to donating items they no longer need, shredding old paperwork and rearranging their layouts to be more organized, accommodating and less cluttered. 

Then when the time comes when they have to move and downsize, they’ll already be prepared for the experience.  

Make Seniors a Part of the Process

When adults try to help their aging parents or family members it often seems like a reversal of traditional roles. When the parent feels like the child it can be jarring and, in some cases, humiliating. 

If a senior, especially one that is still capable of living independently, feels like they are losing control and/or being forced into a situation by their adult children, they may feel anger and resentment. This is especially true when the subject of downsizing and moving to a new home comes up. If an aging parent believes a child is trying to make their own life easier by forcing them to move and part with their possessions, they may dig their heels in even further. 

To avoid this scenario, it’s best to include them in the downsizing process. Instead of cleaning, sorting, organizing and disposing of their belongings without their involvement, ask them to assist. Then, to make the situation less jarring, ask them to recall the stories associated with certain items as you pack them up for the move. This action makes the process feel more like a shared experience and less like an audit. 

Show Seniors Respect  

When you’re assisting your parents in their downsizing efforts, remember to keep their feelings in mind. What may seem like “stuff” to you, has value and meaning to them. Some items, even the smallest ones, may be high in sentimental value.

If they are having trouble parting with certain items, you can always suggest that they give these possessions to family members. Classifying these items as heirlooms can make parting with them much more manageable for your aging loved ones. It lets them know that their memories will remain with their families for years to come. 

Moving and downsizing is never easy at any age. It’s especially difficult for seniors. However, the experience can be less difficult for everyone when you carry out the tasks with empathy, encouragement and compassion. 

If your aging parents or family members have recently moved into a new residence and require home care, don’t feel you have to be the lone provider. Let the certified specialists at Keen Home Care lend a helpful hand. 
Contact us today to learn more about our home care services for your aging loved ones.

Fun At-Home Activities For Aging Loved Ones

Elderly women wearing red shirt using a watering can to water plant at home

Isolation. It’s one of the biggest challenges our aging loved ones face. As they grow older, our senior parents and family members spend more time at home and indoors. Health concerns, limited mobility and other effects of aging often prevent them from visiting some of their favorite places and enjoying some of their favorite activities. This can be discouraging and disheartening for our older family members especially if they were active, outdoorsy or just social butterflies. 

To reduce these feelings of isolation, it’s important for you and your family members to engage with your senior family members. You can help them understand that, although they may not be able to participate in some activities, there are plenty of other fun things they can do at home. And best of all, you can do these activities with them! 

Below are some activities for elderly family members that they and their family can enjoy at home! 

Activities for Aging Loved Ones with Greater Mobility

If your seniors have good mobility, then they may still be able to enjoy some of their favorite activities – with a few minor adjustments: 

  • Gardening – If your mom, dad, aunt or uncle earned a reputation as the family member with the greenest thumb, then this activity is ideal for them! While bending, kneeling and lifting may be more difficult these days, they can still garden with a little bit of assistance from you or other family members. During the winter months, they can keep their gardening skills sharp by planting an indoor herb garden. Best of all, they can use the herbs in their dinners and share them with their family members! 
  • Cooking – Does your senior loved one love cooking? Are they the keepers of a legendary recipe that’s been in the family for generations? If so, you can help them continue to enjoy cooking by being their personal sous chef! They can still call the shots in the kitchen, but you can assist them with some of the minor tasks such as chopping, dicing, lifting and cleaning. Plus, they’ll be able to share these special recipes with you so that these favorite family dishes can be enjoyed for years to come. 
  • Crafting – If crocheting, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking and other crafts and hobbies are their passion, then break out the hooks, glue guns and other tools of the trade for some great at-home fun! Or if they’ve never had the time to craft but want to learn, that’s no problem. The two of you can watch some online crafting tutorials together and learn along the way! 

Activities for Aging Loved Ones with Limited Mobility

Senior loved ones with limited mobility may be having a tougher time adjusting to being homebound and slightly less independent. While they may be unable to perform certain activities that they enjoyed, there are still lots of wonderful things they can enjoy with you and the family!

  • Playing Board or Card Games – Does your senior loved one have a competitive streak? Do they love building their brain power? Or maybe they just love a table full of family members having fun? No matter which scenario describes your aging parent or relative, they’ll be thrilled if you and other family members pull up a seat and play some games. Whether it’s a two-person game like chess or a multi-player favorite like Monopoly, they’ll enjoy every moment of this activity. 
  • Listening to Music – Sharing their passion with others is something many music fans enjoy. So find a comfy spot in their living room, pour everyone a cup of coffee or tea, and listen to some of their favorite tunes on the radio, voice assistant device or record player. The best part about this activity is that it usually acts as a catalyst for senior’s memories. Certain songs bring back great memories that they can share with you and the family. 
  • Sitting Outside – Their limited mobility may prevent them from driving or walking around their neighborhood. But they can still enjoy the beauty of the outdoors from their own backyard. When the weather is warm, take the conversation and the refreshments outside and enjoy the sunshine, gentle breezes and birdsongs. 

These are just a few of the many fun at-home activities your elderly family members can enjoy with their families, friends and neighbors throughout the year. We hope they inspired and motivated you to spend more time with your aging family members to help them stay engaged and reduce their feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

When you cannot be there to assist your aging parents or relatives, let the certified specialists at Keen Home Care help. We are here to help you and your family find the right solutions for your life care management needs. 

Contact us today to learn more about our home care solutions and resources! 

What To Do When Your Elderly Loved One Refuses Help

Younger women showing elderly lady how to use a smartphone while sitting on a bench in a park

We all need a little extra help sometimes. As children, we’re less apprehensive about asking others for help. When we enter adulthood, the need to be independent often prevents us from asking for help. It’s often because we feel self-conscious, or maybe even a little embarrassed, about not being able to do something completely on our own. This is unfortunate because it’s okay to ask for help whenever we need it – especially during our senior years.

You may have noticed that your senior parent or loved one is struggling with various everyday things on their own. Perhaps they’re having difficulty with their mobility. Perhaps they have not been keeping up with their daily medication. They may have even started to become noticeably forgetful.

When these situations arise, your first instinct is to offer help. Unfortunately, many seniors will refuse to accept such offers. Why? Senior may refuse help for a variety of reasons, including
Worry over losing their independence
Shame of being perceived as a burden to anyone
Fear of being incapacitated and/or dying
Resentment at being treated as a “child”

While all of these reasons and emotions are completely understandable, they should not prevent attaining caregiver help for your senior loved one.

If you are dealing with elderly parents or relatives who refuse help, you’re not alone. Many people just like you face this challenge every day. Fortunately, there are some wonderful ways you can help your senior family members overcome their reluctance to receive caregiving help.

Assess Your Senior’s Situation

Before you attempt to speak with your loved one about their need for help, you should really take a close look at their behavior, surroundings and health. Take some time to properly assess your senior parent or relative’s current situation and determine the areas where they need help and what kind of support would be most helpful.

If your loved one is fairly healthy and cognitive but has infrequent mobility issues the degree of help they require may not be significant. However, if your senior has a variety of health issues, suffers from limited mobility or is experiencing cognitive decline, their personal care requirements may be more considerable.

It’s best to identify these areas of concern so you and/or your family can determine which care options may suit your senior loved one’s specific needs.

Allow Seniors To Feel In Control

Since one of the biggest concerns that aging adults have is the fear of losing their independence, your additional care discussion needs to take this into consideration. Assure them that, depending on their unique circumstances, accepting additional help does not automatically mean a loss of independence. The best way to assure them that they still have control over their own lives is to present them with several care options.Some additional care options that can be offered include:

  • Moving into an adult child’s spare room
  • Renovating a section of an adult child’s home to create parents quarters
  • Installing a home monitoring device or system in the seniors home for emergency alerts
  • Retaining the services of a registered home care specialist for regular visits

When they feel that the choice is being made for them, they may dig in their heels and refuse to comply. By presenting your aging parent or relative with these types of options, you allow them to feel more in control of their lives. Now that they have choices to consider, they may be more inclined to accept additional help.

Appeal To Their Parental Instincts

Most parents want to do what’s best for their children. It doesn’t matter if their children are toddlers or adults, most parents want their kids to have the best opportunities. By appealing to these parental instincts, you may be able to convince your senior parent or loved one that accepting additional help and care would help you in the long run.

Help them understand that you worry a great deal about them being alone, injured, in distress or impaired. And that worry is causing you to experience your own issues such as worry, anxiety, sleep loss. If they accept help, then your wellbeing will improve. Essentially, by accepting help they would be helping their child.

Accentuate the Positives

Finally, it’s always a good idea to highlight the many positives of additional help. Deflect the stigma associated with this subject matter by emphasizing the things they gain by accepting additional help:

  • They can continue to live independently
  • They won’t have to leave their home
  • Their pets can continue to live with them
  • They can continue to enjoy their own everyday routines and activities

Essentially, you’ll be able to help them understand that they have more to lose if they should have an emergency or become incapactitated due to an injury. By receiving help, they reduce the risk of emergencies and injuries.

With this information in mind, you’ll be better prepared to have a sensitive and productive conversation with your aging parents or relatives about accepting outside help.

If you and your family are interested in short and long term care options for your aging loved ones, Keen Home Care has many beneficial options available. Our team of home care specialists will work with you and your family to avoid premature or unnecessary institutionalization of your aging or disabled loved ones, so they can continue to live in the comfort of their own home.

Contact us today to learn more about our home care service options for seniors in the Long Beach community.

Keeping Seniors Safe When They’re Outdoors

Three seniors walking out of a stadium after enjoying a sporting event.

Home is where the heart is – but going outside and enjoying the sun, warm weather and different surroundings is one of the best ways for seniors to socialize, energize and stave off feelings of isolation and depression, especially after experiencing this past year’s lockdown. Whether it’s simply enjoying a backyard BBQ at a loved one’s home, taking a walk in a park, going shopping or taking in some evening entertainment, there are so many enjoyable opportunities for seniors outside the home. 

However, keeping seniors safe when they’re outdoors or traveling outside their homes is a major concern. Family, friends and caregivers want to ensure that senior family members can safely go outside and enjoy themselves without the risk of injuries or emergencies. 

While it’s impossible to prevent every emergency, careful planning and preventive processes help protect seniors when they’re outdoors. Below are some helpful elderly care tips for keeping seniors safe when they’re outside of their homes. 

Appropriate Footwear 

Falling is one of the most common safety concerns for seniors when they’re not at home. Fortunately, many of these slips and falls can be prevented or minimized by wearing the right footwear. 

Seniors should be wearing shoes that fit well and are comfortable without being loose. These shoes should also have a good tread and a slip-resistant sole to provide better traction on a variety of surfaces. Once a month, shoes should be inspected to make sure that they still fit well and have plenty of tread left on the sole. As soon as the shoes start to show signs of increasing wear, they should be replaced with a new pair. 

Porch and Deck Safety

Enjoying the outdoors doesn’t always involve travelling miles away from home. Sometimes the best outdoor opportunities are found on the front porch or in the backyard. Although unwinding on the porch with a good book or cooking out on the backyard deck are fun, these areas can be full of hazards for seniors. 

Although throw rugs add a decorative touch to porches and decks, they can add an extra element of concern for seniors who already have to navigate these tricky terrains. Rugs slide more easily on porch and deck surfaces, it’s best to avoid using them especially in households where seniors live or visit frequently. 

Porches and decks also typically feature elevated entryways that pose a tripping hazard for seniors especially those with mobility issues. The use of portable ramps at these entryways helps keep seniors safe by making these doorways more accessible for them. 

Shopping Tips

Taking a trip to the local supermarket or retailer for groceries, essentials or just a bit of shopping fun is a nice way for seniors to socialize with their community. Yet, trying to handle multiple shopping bags of groceries or items may lead to injury. 

If you’re unable to accompany a senior on their shopping trips, emphasize their need to use traditional or seated mobility shopping carts to help them manage their bags. And although they may be resistant to the idea, compassionately communicate with them that it is ok to ask a store member for assistance. These retailers want their customers to be happy and safe so they’ll be glad to help. 

Traveling Essentials 

Whether seniors are driving a great distance from home or just visiting a local destination, emergencies can happen anywhere at any time. From flat tires and car breakdowns to accidents and health emergencies, seniors will benefit from having an emergency kit inside their car for any major or minor issues. 

An emergency kit should be small enough to fit in a car but large enough to accommodate the following essentials: foldable emergency blanket, rain poncho, an umbrella, sunscreen, a hat, gloves, flashlight and extra batteries, bottled water, a first aid kit, and copies of their insurance cards and a list of current medications (which seniors should also carry in their purses or wallets when away from home). 

By following these helpful elderly care steps, you’ll help keep your senior family member more safe whenever they leave their homes. If you’re looking for home care solutions for your senior family members, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have!