By Jim Schenck
As people age, ordinary tasks around the house can become increasingly more difficult to accomplish. Apart from quality time with you, one of the best gifts to give is assistance with tasks that have become challenging.
When visiting your loved ones, consider the following tasks that could help them around the house.
Carrying heavy boxes up and down a ladder or stairs is a strenuous task for anyone, but especially those who might be experiencing changes in their physical health. Helping your parents or loved ones bring down their stored summer clothes from storage or taking the Christmas decorations back up for the year can be a huge help to them.
Getting down on your knees to scrub the bathroom floor, climbing a step stool to wipe ceiling fan blades, vacuuming in hard to reach places – all of these are great examples of deep cleaning that could really assist your loved ones.
Replacing batteries in smoke detectors or lightbulbs in overhead lighting, washing windows, washing and rehanging curtains, shampooing carpets, or even rearranging furniture for better flow are all chores that can be difficult or even dangerous for older adults. Completing them while visiting can be a great gift.
Yard work is another potential safety hazard for older adults, particularly during the hot summer months. Mowing the lawn, trimming shrubbery, cleaning gutters and even blowing off the roof can help your loved ones prevent a serious accident.
Technology can be a daunting challenge for seniors who have not used it much. It can be frustrating to learn how to access the DVR menu on the television, text or even make calls on a new smart phone, set up a Facebook page, and operate tablets, computers and more. Even new vehicles have technology that may be confusing. Taking the time to walk patiently through the various steps with your loved one will make them feel more comfortable and confident using advancing technology.
It can be easy to underestimate how much of a difference your help with these tasks can make later in life. It is important to be sensitive to your parent’s feelings, however, as you begin to take them over. Senior adults often feel embarrassed that they can no longer do the things they used to do with ease. They may feel like you are judging them for not having them done already. That may lead to them trying to accomplish strenuous tasks before your next visit. Reassuring Mom or Dad that it is a pleasure, not a burden to help them and that you are doing it out of love will go a long way toward them seeing your help as a gift and not as a loss of their dignity. Encourage them to make a list of things you can do for them during your next visit.