Tip 1 – Talk to your relative or loved one if you are worried about them

Tips to help your older relatives.  Tip 1: Talk to them and find out more about their hopes, plans and aspirations.

Tip 1: Talk together

Use your time together this winter to find out what they are thinking and feeling.  Your relative may be keen to reassure you that they are fine and don’t need any support or help, even if you think they do. There are many reasons why this happens, including:

  • They may not want to worry you or to be a burden.
  • Ageing is an organic process.  Your relative may not realise that they are accommodating some of their own (or their home’s) limitations.
  • They may worry that by admitting that they need some help  that they will have to move out of their home.  [With some small adjustments this is often not necessary] 
  • Genuinely though, they may be fine – it might be you that is worrying!

The Press certainly doesn’t help, with its often negative stereotyping of age and dependency in old age. And so, your relative may be genuinely frightened of losing their independence.  Moreover, they may feel they are losing recognition for who they are and what they have achieved in their lives.

A wise, green-fingered 90-year-old friend of mine has a saying that rings true for most circumstances:

You can’t move a plant before it is ready. If you do, it won’t thrive ….. it is just the same for people’

Your loved-one is an individual with choices

Asking open questions and listening to your relatives hopes, plans and aspirations for the future is a great starting point.

You may think that your relative would benefit from a little extra help around the house or other forms of support. But remember, it is better to discuss this with them and allow them to make the decision to themselves. 

Sadly we have seen so many older people being spoken to as if they are a child, or don’t have a valid opinion of their own.  It rarely works well when people try to force ‘solutions’ onto an individual that is living independently. 

 A little posititivity goes a long way….

If you have ‘heard the stories a thousand times already‘, that may be because they cherish that part of their life.  Try asking them more questions about the story, you might be surprised about what else you learn! 

By focusing on the positive side of your loved-one’s life, you are showing them that you recognise them as an individual and not as a ‘problem to fix’. 

This is the same when it comes to the here and now.  Focus your conversations on what your relative can do and what they enjoy rather than asking or telling them what they can’t do.

Engage your loved one in positive conversations about their lives. Ask open questions that allows them to tell you what they love to do, and perhaps what they would like to do in the future.  They may even tell you what they can’t do anymore.

If they do open up to you, resist the temptation to dive in with a solution that you think is best.  Work with your relative to explore the options available.

If you aren’t sure what to do next, call your relative’s GP or their Local Council’s Adult Social Services team.  Everyone has a right to ask for a Social Care Needs Assessment.

Click here to read Tip 2

Are you visiting older relatives this Christmas?

Are you visiting older relatives this christmas? Top tips for helping your loved ones live well, at home, in later life.

Tip 1: If you are concerned about your relative, talk to them and find out what they are thinking and feeling. That is to say, you can’t help them if you don’t understand what it is that they want or need. And they may not want a Residential Care Home, only 7% of people favour this option! Reading our Tip 1 Blog is a good starting point for this….

Tip 2: Are you worried about their memory? Or their physical condition or their mental state? There is no single test to assess risk, however, there are some simple checks you can do yourself. Read our Tip 2 Blog, where we also identify organisations that may be able to help you too.

Tip 3: You can help your loved one to cope better in their own home with some simple changes to it. For instance, improving the security and lighting. Or perhaps you can spot and removing any trip hazards or fall risks. That way you can help them to retain their independence. There are many more things you can do to future-proof a home. Read here to find out more…..

Tip 4: Plan for the future…. and, no matter how hard it is, talk about death. We know this can be a hard thing to do. In Tip 4’s blog, we look at some options on how to discuss your loved one’s preferences and plans without causing upset or distress.

Your Home – the last piece of your Retirement jigsaw?

Home for retirement planThink about your vision for your retirement. Have you actively considered the role your home will play in making that vision a reality? Many people forget to consider this – it’s often the neglected piece of the retirement jigsaw.

When you’ve lived in a property for years, it’s hard to pick up on little things that become barriers and risks to living independently as you get older. After all, what you want (and need) from your home evolves over time.

Home Check, our most popular service, makes it easy to address this important area.

Home Check – your blueprint for independent living at home

One of our Insured, DBS-checked Assessors will review your home and garden and prepare a comprehensive report with personalised suggestions on how to reduce fall risks, improve safety and maximise accessibility – while complementing your taste in design and often adding value to your property. The report comes complete with pictures and useful links, so it’s easy to browse and choose what’s right for you.

Our property adaptation advice services – unique in the UK – give you fast, practical and tailored advice, so you can plan your future life at home with more confidence.

Live at Home for Longer into Later Life

Planning-home-for-later-life‘An Englishman’s Home is his Castle’ – castle, house, bungalow or narrow boat – it doesn’t matter what shape it is, just so long as we can call it home.

Our home is part of our identity, we choose it (for the most part), furnish it, decorate it and choose who we let into it.  We know our neighbourhood and all the good places to go nearby.  Home is the place that we love and know the best.  So why should we have to leave all behind that when we get older?

Throughout our lives our needs and aspirations change – and we just expect our home to flex and adapt with us.  Sometimes we outgrow its four walls and sometimes it outgrows us.  But what we don’t expect is for our home to stop us living the way we want to – but that is what can happen as we get older –  Steps become a challenge, the bath edge is a bit too high and the floor a bit too slippery, the garden seems a lot bigger than it did 20 years ago and reaching the top of the kitchen cabinet is a little bit more precarious.  It is not our fault or something we did, its the natural process of ageing – and it is the home that is no longer supporting us.

Luckily with some small adjustments, and occasionally some larger adaptations you can unlock the potential of your home to let you live independently, comfortably and safely in the home you love for much longer.

Living Well at Home Ltd is here to help and please enjoy the pages of this blog and our website http://www.livingwellathome.co.uk and look forward to your independent future.

Emma and the team