The fact of the matter is that, despite their advanced age and frail bodies, seniors would rather live in their own granny flats than in nursing homes away from their immediate family. It is physically, emotionally and financially taxing for them and for you to bring them to nursing homes or to give them a professional caregiver if they still have enough strength to do things independently.
Opting out of the nursing home option and getting into the residence annex bandwagon totally makes sense, especially now that there are tax breaks given for it. A news report on BBC official website last April 2016 says, “Any annex that is worth less than one-third of the total property value will no longer qualify for the extra charge.” In addition, BBC reported that those who paid residence annex tax in excess may opt to seek reimbursement.
The following tips will help your senior family members retire comfortably by her own in your house’s building annex.
Do A Regular Inventory
Your elderly family member will definitely need assistance with a lot of things as they start to move in their own granny flats. Make sure to check for the following on as they move out to your residence’s annex and continue doing so on a regular basis:
Check the refrigerator – Check if your elderly has enough healthy food and drinks in the fridge. Now, more than ever, they would need all the nutrition they could get. Fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, adult milk, whole grains and other healthy options should always be available for them.
Scan the mailbox – Look at the mailbox to see if he or she is paying the bills on time. Also, watch out for mails from scammers preying on old people and for pension updates.
Maintain the car – Despite their old age, your senior relative will still need their car to get around town, especially when they get lonely. Make sure the vehicle is in top condition to avoid mishaps on the road.
Replenish toiletries and other supplies – Your granny and gramps also need toiletries and other things, like adult diapers. Make sure there is enough stock for at least a month.
Provide for medical needs – Every elderly person has their own medical requirements. Make sure that all prescribed medicines are within their easy grasp. Also provide for their supplements, like multivitamins. Learn how to facilitate regular medical procedures like checking blood pressure and blood sugar levels so that you can personally do it for your elders.
Always look for broken things – Your grandparents don’t have enough strength to repair every broken item in their home. Do them a favor by scanning through each household machine and gadget and repairing these items for them.
Make their gadgets elderly-friendly – Most baby boomers now have internet access and many of them own a gadget, like a smartphone or a tablet. Make sure to turn on accessibility options for the elderly, like setting the font size to large or turning the silent feature off.
Clean and organize everything – Help them keep their house clean and organized on a regular basis. Relocate furniture, do necessary renovations and donate or give away extra things to help them get around the house easier.
Ensure Your Elderly’s Safety
Guaranteeing your grandparents’ safety should always be a priority due to their helpless state and high risk for accidents and medical emergencies like slips and falls. Ensuring that their flat is safe for them falls on our shoulders.
It doesn’t have to be costly to ensure your old relative’s safety. Simple solutions like installing touch or motion-activated lights, non-slip floor mats and, shower seats and toilet grab bars can help make the house safer for them. You can also try repainting stairs, countertops and walls for more visual contrast.
Adding safety device in their own residence annex will be very helpful, too. Automated fire prevention systems, medical alert devices and intrusion alert gadgets will give both you and your senior relative a much-needed sense of calmness and security, knowing that everything is accessible in a press of a button.
Constant Communication Is Key
Above everything else, ensuring the emotional well-being of your grandparents is crucial as they move on to the last phase of their life. In spite of their desire for independence, there is actually a heightened need for constant companionship among the elderly. Deprivation of this sense of companionship is detrimental to their health, with a study conducted by the University of California – San Francisco revealing that loneliness causes an increased risk of death by 45 percent among the elderly.
Constant warm gestures like hugs and kisses are very much welcome. Initiate level-headed conversations with them and let them open up to you. Always remember to listen to what they are saying for them to feel that they still belong. Do not hesitate to give them kind words of encouragement to boost their morale. Make a conscious effort to check on them every once in a while.
Helping them lead a productive life will also give your senior family members with a feeling of being needed. Kick start their active lifestyle by helping them start a new or resume an old hobby – aerobics classes, basic computer learning sessions and gardening are just a few of the options they have.
Finally, always remember to know your limits. Provide for them without compromising their independence. Make them feel that they are trusted to still take care of themselves to an extent. Communicate openly with them to clearly set rules and limits on things.
It is hard to see your once-healthy and strong senior relatives experience a deterioration of their physical and mental capacities. Once in our lives, they were the ones looking out for our needs and wants. In the twilight of their lives, it is now our turn to give back and make them feel that they are still wanted – up to the last breath of their lives.