6 Tips for Helping Seniors in Your Family

Written by | Updated May 28, 2013

Many senior citizens happily live independently without the need for much help from family. However, the truth of the matter is that some seniors do require help from loved ones to help ensure their safety. Senior citizens are more likely to be the target of scams, and they’re at higher risk for memory loss and physical accidents. For these reasons, we’ve provided a list of tips for helping the seniors in your life:

1. Keep Tabs on Important Documents

Ask your family member where they keep important documents, such as social security cards, insurance cards, birth certificates, and titles for vehicles. Make sure these documents are kept in a safe place. If your family member uses a lock box, ask where the key is kept or make sure you know the combination. That way, if an emergency occurs, you’ll have access to important information you may need.

2. Encourage Social Engagements

As family members get older, it’s important to ensure that they continue to engage in social activities. Encourage the seniors in your life to join clubs, attend weekly gatherings with friends, or take walks with others. Participating in activities with others will help seniors keep their minds and bodies healthy.

3. Make a Bill System

We all need a system to keep our bills in order, and it’s important to check on the seniors in your life to make sure they have one in place. Ask your mature family members how they keep track of their bills and what kind of system they have in place. If they need help balancing their checkbook, writing a budget, or keeping their bills in one place, be ready to help out with organization.

4. Copy Keys

You should have a copy of any keys for close senior family members. That way, if your family member locks themselves out of the house or needs help but can’t get to the door, you’ll have a way to get into their home or apartment. Additionally, make sure your family member doesn’t leave keys in outdated and conspicuous places, such as under a mat or in a fake rock, since intruders are now savvy to these kinds of hiding places.

5. Help Avoid Fraud

Many con artists target senior citizens in an attempt to take advantage of those who might be polite or easily confused. If you have a family member who might fall prey to this kind of manipulation, check in with them frequently. Advise them to avoid giving out their credit card information to strangers or companies that they haven’t heard of before.

6. Consider a Personal Emergency Pendant

Personal emergency pendants are offered by several security system companies, such as Vivint, FrontPoint, and LifeShield. Specifically designed with seniors in mind, a personal emergency pendant is kept in a pocket or worn around the neck. With a large panic button in the middle of the pendant, it’s easy for a senior to call for help in case of an emergency.

Every senior citizen is different, and of course, many do not want to feel fussed over. However, aging is a fact of life and many of us need help as we get older. Don’t forget to check up on the seniors in your family to make sure they’re getting by all right. If you have additional suggestions for helping seniors in your life, please share in the comments!

Image courtesy of samvanfleteren on Flickr.com.

Written by Hillary Johnston

A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more

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