One of the biggest challenges you’ll likely face in your life is helping a senior family member retain happiness and independence in old age. It’s perfectly possible for senior citizens in modern society to be very happy no matter how old they may grow. But often it takes a little bit of help! Age can be cruel, and often the way in which it begins to sap an individual’s independence is the most harmful aspect. So as a devoted child or grandchild, one of the best things you can do for a senior family member is contribute to the preservation of that independence, to whatever extent possible.
One of the best ways to do it is simply to stay involved. Listen to your senior relative and try to meet his or her needs in a way that’s helpful without being too hands-on. But sometimes a simple gift can also go a long way to ward helping with independence. Some of these can be lovely options.
A Walk In Tub
Walk in bathtubs don’t always come to mind as gifts, and they can even seem a little bit strange. But some of the newer options are actually wonderful, with easy controls, comfortable seats, and everything from air jets to lighting control! This can be a wonderful gift for a senior citizen who may be less steady getting in and out of a tub, or even handling a shower. It’s a way to get clean, but it doubles as a luxury item. You may even find yourself wanting one as you go about picking one out!
Your relative doesn’t have to be in a wheelchair to appreciate a wheelchair ramp. The truth of the matter is that sometimes even walking up a gradual incline can be a little easier than climbing stairs at a certain age. It can also reduce the risk of a potentially devastating fall. You’ll want to talk to your relative before taking a step like this of course, but it can be one more step toward that relative being able to stay in his or her home and remain self-sufficient.
You can’t buy “bed comfort,” of course, but little gifts can help an elderly family member to feel comfortable at home, and possibly even avoid some of the aches and pains that come with old age, and which can be exacerbated by poor sleep. For a simple solution, you can opt for a foam or water pillow, which can essentially adjust to body type to provide maximum comfort. If you’re looking for a more involved gift, a whole new mattress can make a big difference – though it’s definitely something you’d be better off talking to your relative about first.
A Digital Assistant
I’ll wrap up with something a little bit less traditional, but potentially best of all for the preservation of independence. One thing we don’t think much about is how technology is isolating the elderly. Even things as simple as putting on a film or playing a record can essentially become inaccessible to senior family members. But by setting up a Google Home or a similar digital assistant, you can reverse this process. You can teach your senior relative how to use simple voice commands to play music and arrange other entertainment. It can be a wonderful gift if you manage to set it up properly.