Services to Help Seniors Stay Independent Longer

View as:|
1 of 12
Next
iStock

Older adults, even those who are healthy, have been enthusiastic about many of the services now offered that can make aging at home easier. For people with health issues or those who can no longer drive, these services may make the difference between aging at home and moving to a care facility. With some couples, one person may be the primary caregiver for the other, but often the caregiver has chronic health issues as well. With the help of these services, older adults can stay independent longer.


iStock

House cleaning services

Cleaning or “maid” services can be invaluable for helping older adults who are physically or cognitively challenged stay in their homes longer and more safely by eliminating their need to perform risky or challenging cleaning tasks. The cleaning person can also add value simply by being a social connection for a senior who finds getting out difficult. Alternately, home cleaning services can help caregivers who have little time to clean their homes while caring for their parents’ needs.


iStock

Handyman services

One of the downsides of caring for a home is that there’s always something that breaks, leaks, or gets plugged, as well as upgrades that need to be done. For older adults, there may be home modifications that include grab-bars in the shower or tub, or handrails that need to be installed in strategic areas. Sometimes, a wheelchair ramp may be necessary. Most of these fixes can be done by an imaginative handyman who has a variety of skills.


iStock

Who can you trust?

Many communities nationwide belong to NextDoor, which is accessible by computer or a smart phone. People of all ages use this app to ask for local recommendations for cleaning services, a handyman, or lawncare. Communities tend to be generous in answering questions about local services. NextDoor also has a section where people offering services can list their information. App users can find someone promising and then jump onto the neighbor section and ask if anyone has used this service.


iStock

Food delivery is flourishing

Increasingly, local grocery stores offer the option of home delivery. Often, the stores provide their own service, however Instacart has made huge inroads nationally. Some delivery services online make ordering optional, but to use Instacart, the customer must order online. If the older adult is not computer literate, a family member can do the ordering for their older adult. Some local stores will use online ordering but may make exceptions for older adults, if necessary.


iStock

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels has been around since the end of World War II. The volunteer organization provides low-cost (subsidized) hot meals daily for homebound seniors or others with disabilities. Their volunteers are trained to be a social contact for their clients, who may not see anyone else all day. These volunteers also make a mental note if they sense something unusual is occurring in their client’s environment or with their health, so that family members or social workers can be contacted.


iStock

Medication delivery

Most Medicare D insurance plans actually encourage people to have their medications delivered through the mail. Other insurance plans often do, as well. Another option, though there may be a charge, is your local pharmacy. Pharmacies such as CVS have noticed that delivery is both a need and a convenience for their customers, so they’ve joined the delivery trend. Arranging for medication delivery can ensure that a storm doesn’t keep a vulnerable person from going out to pick up medications.


iStock

Vitamins, supplements, and 'health food'

Many health-food stores sell vitamins online, though this is one area where you’ll want to be careful about the company you use. Swanson Vitamins has been around for decades and has maintained a good reputation. Swanson’s offers free delivery for orders over $50, and once signed up, customers can see some terrific sales. If a senior or their family keeps a running list of needs, and watches for the emails for sales, they can save considerable money as well as have convenient delivery.


iStock

Transportation for convenience or necessity

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are alternatives to a traditional cab service. They can be cheaper, and, according to Uber, you can ask for a driver who can physically assist you to and from the vehicle or carry your shopping bags into your home. Ridesharing drivers are supposed to be vetted, but their backgrounds may not be as well-checked as cab drivers. Still, they have a reasonably good reputation in most parts of the country.


iStock

Alternate senior ride options

GoGoGrandparent is a service that allows older adults to use ridesharing without a smartphone. Their drivers are trained to assist people if they need help getting to and from the vehicle or with packages. Senior Rides is a van service that many communities offer through their senior centers. Liberty Mobility is only available in a few states now but it’s a much-needed service for rural states. The National Volunteer Transport site is well worth investigating, too.


iStock

Amazon Prime for nearly everything

Amazon Prime can be an enormous help when it comes to ordering nearly anything you need around the house. With a monthly (currently $12.99) or yearly (currently $119) subscription you receive two-day shipping on most orders. Older or more frail individuals may not benefit from this, but for those who simply don’t want to run to stores for household items, toiletries, self-care products, and many vitamins and other supplements, as well as, of course food, this can be money well spent.


iStock

Tylenol #HowWeCare

Tylenol has hopped on the eldercare bandwagon with their #HowWeCare program. This program is meant to raise awareness about seniors’ needs by making it easy for people to purchase and send gift cards for Uber and Handyman. While this campaign focuses on services to help caregivers they can also help care receivers. Tylenol’s #HowWeCare is working to expand its gift card partners so this may be something to keep an eye on.