Caring for elderly relatives? Supercarers can help find out more
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Keeping a check on ageing parent living alone(12 Posts)
I find myself in a difficult situation.
My father has been living on his own a few years now since my mom passed. He is in relatively good health for his age (75+) and I have been living close enough to visit him once a week plus talk to him on the phone a few times a week.
A month ago my DH got a new post overseas and we have found ourselves having to move there for 2 year period along with our children by Easter.
Although my father is not sick, I have noticed him becoming more frail over they years and I am really afraid what will happen if he has a fall inside the house and requires assistance while I'm overseas.
I have heard terrible stories of seniors falling in their house and in some cases being left there for days before anyone noticed and got to them.
My father has a few friends with whom he meets frequently but at times it could be days before he sees anyone in person as he enjoys solitude. I am not even going to refer to moving to shelter homes or relatives' homes etc as it is out of the question for him. He loves his home and would hate to move to a new environment. Besides I have no siblings and his siblings have either passed or live overseas.
Does anyone have any other ideas of how I could deal with this situation?
I need to make sure I can check on my father and ensure he is alright while I am away.
Thoughts, ideas, experiences much appreciated...
You have my sympathy as my frail father also lived alone after my mother died, with both his DDs overseas.
An iPad with text messages and a MacBook Air were very helpful, as were landline handsets in several rooms. A panic button addition to the house alarm is reassuring, as is giving several sets of keys to friends and neighbours, who will give you their telephone numbers in exchange.
Perhaps also a cleaner and/or gardener? Seeing a trusted adult several mornings per week is good for elderly people.
Would he be willing to wear a pendant alarm? This is linked to Social care and if he had a fall he can press the button to summon help. It helps to have key box fitted so that emergency services can access the property.
Also you could try a daily signal where he calls your phone and lets it ring twice then cut off. So that you know he is safe. If you know his neighbours , I would give them your contact details in case they sense danger. Once they know you are going away, they might listen out for him.
The pendant alarm mentioned above can be a wrist alarm which suited my dad better (like a wristwatch) we had a system installed that just attached like an answerphone to a landline and if he pressed the button either by accident or design a call handler connected to the device and asked if he was ok. If he didn't answer, they called numbers which we had given them to contact. I.e. Family or friends.
www.ageuk.org.uk/products/mobility-and-independence-at-home/personal-alarms/ was from someone like this I think
If he'd allow it you could have a camera you can access remotely in one room. This worked for elderly relatives as you can do a quick check in the morning to see that they're up as curtains are open and the same again at night. Obviously requires a lot of trust but great for peace of mind that if they've fallen or are ill that you'll notice fairly quickly. And definitely a personal alarm.
Thank you for all your feedback.
I googled according to your suggestions. It would appear that cost wise there are many options from cheap to very expensive. How reliable are all these? any suggestion on a brand?
If I am getting this right though they all have to be charged (battery operated?) and my father has to remember to put them on. How good is the battery life? is there any back up system in case my father forgets to charge them?
Once again, thank you for all your suggestions - now I'm a bit more hopeful there are some options out there.
Ours was plugged into a socket so not battery. The actual button might have had a battery but I can't recall changing it. We had the age uk one at first but then changed to our local authority version when my dad became more infirm ..this had the option of a bed alarm that called him if he was out of bed for mor than half an hour during the night (carers also were in place to go in )
Do you have a local falls prevention team that could come out and assess him.
You should be able to find out through social services and they should provide monitors/alarms for free.
I found this out by accident but our Yale easy fit burglar alarm has a setting where it will phone you (or set off the alarm, depending how you set it) if motion is not detected for a certain length of time on a pir detector. I bet you can get smart pir devices that will do the same, or that you can get notifications from with an app.
Thank you so much for the suggestions.
I called the GP and they directed me to Social Services. However my dad is not eligible for a free monitor. I can still go ahead with the assessment I guess and have a review of his needs and living environment.
I am researching a product I can buy myself now and give it a ago before I leave.
Any suggestions of what to look for or what to avoid are most welcome.
Once again, thank you so much!
AGEUK are the best people to help you. Personally I avoid SAGA products.