Your elderly neighbor may be capable of running his own errands, but they would go faster if you did them. If you notice that an elderly person has a recurring errand -- picking up a prescription, for example -- offer to do it for him. Call him before you leave work occasionally and ask if he needs anything from the market. Drop off his water bill so he can save a stamp or put his letters in the mail with your own. Take her car for an oil change or to a doctor's appointment.
Even when an elderly person insists on her independence and self-sufficiency, there are still many ways you can help out. The simplest activities can prove difficult for an elderly person, so keep your eyes and ears open to discover services you can perform to help her live a better life.
Around the House
Many elderly people can easily manage small-scale household chores, but that still leaves the big stuff. An elderly person may no longer be able to manipulate a heavy vacuum cleaner, for example, or move furniture when necessary. If he has a pool, it needs to be cleaned and maintained during the fall and winter. When it snows, he'll need someone to shovel his driveway. If she purchases new furniture, offer to set it up for her.
Out and About
It's crucial to their mental and emotional well-being for seniors to stay active and engaged with others. You can help an elderly person with limited mobility by providing rides to social events, church or club meetings. Encourage him to exercise daily and take a walk with him whenever you can. Organize a carpool for her friends and take them to a restaurant so they can have dinner together. Help her find volunteer opportunities or bring her course listings for the community college.
Legal, Organizational and Financial Help
Some elderly people are reluctant to plan for the end of life, but doing so is clearly in their best interest. Help them see the benefits of making a will, cataloging their belongings and making necessary financial arrangements. Spend a weekend filling boxes with possessions she wishes to donate or throw away. Make and take her to an appointment with an attorney if she needs will advice. Help her rent a safe-deposit box at the bank if necessary or organize her tax documents.
- Science Daily; Socializing Can Help Elderly Women Stay Sharp; June 6, 2008
- Elder One Stop: Elderly Activities
- Keep Seniors Active
- Silver Planet; Eight Ways You Can Help Your Elderly Parents BEFORE Crisis; Julie Hall; Feb. 17, 2010
- Baby Boomer Insights; Resources Boomers Can Use to Help Elderly Parents: Gifts That Keep on Giving; Dec. 12, 2010
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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