A Short Guide to Helping an Independent Elderly Relative


If you have an independent, elderly relative who lives alone, the chances are you will be worried about making the balance between looking out for their welfare, and not being too intrusive. However, there are plenty of positive things that you can do to make their life more comfortable, while also making them feel confident and appreciated. The trick is to keep your eyes and ears open as much as you can when you visit, so you can suggest or make small adjustments as and when needed.

This article looks at Ransome Mobility’s top tips on caring for an elderly relative from a distance. We have more than 30 years’ of experience in providing mobility aids and domestic stairlifts in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex and Hertfordshire. Just click on the link above to find out the mobility products we have available.

Some Ways to Help an Independent Elderly Relative

Making Shopping/Cooking Easier – It may be that you notice your relative is skipping meals every so often. Perhaps their fridge is not as well stocked as it used to be? If they do find getting food in a bit of a struggle, why not suggest a weekly trip to the supermarket, or changing your relative’s shopping habits to buying online?  You may want to ask if they would consider having Meals-on-Wheels, which is organised by the Royal Voluntary Service.

Keeping on top of Medication/Doctors Appointments – If your relative needs lots of medication during the day, it can be hard for them to keep track of. Write a list of when their tablets need to be taken, and at what time (morning, evening, before or after meals etc). You can buy medicine boxes that have separate compartments for each day – just divide the tablets up into the individual boxes so your relative can see which ones remain. If your relative has regular doctor’s appointments, you might want to offer them a lift or organise transport for them.

Helping with Home Improvements – If you noticed your relative is finding it harder to move about the house (such as gripping onto the edges of tables, or furniture or being slightly unsteady on their feet) there are some things that you can do. You may want to suggest carrying out some DIY work in the home, and ask if they want a few handrails put in while you are there. If a relative is choosing to sleep on a chair or sofa, rather than venturing upstairs to bed, what about browsing our website together to find out about buying or renting domestic stairlifts?  If the post is piling up because it is harder for them to bend down to pick it up, why not affix a basket on the door (at to the back of the letterbox), so their post is more accessible?

Lifts to Clubs or Social Groups – If your relative enjoys going to certain clubs, (such as community clubs, the University of the Third Age, bridge etc) but finds it difficult to get there, why not offer them a lift or ask a friend to step in and help? If they have been enjoying a certain sport, such as bowls, but mobility has made it no longer possible to play, why not go to the club together, either to watch a match or have lunch so they can still stay in touch with their friends?

Checking the House for any Dangers – Statistics show that there are around half a million accidents a year in the home involving people aged 65 years and over. Take a wander around their house to see if there are any obvious objects lying around that your relative may stumble over – such as cords, loose carpets, and dog bowls – and remove them to a place of safety. Or, where possible, get rid of these items completely.

Helping with the Housework – Doing the housework becomes more and more difficult in later life, as it becomes harder to bend down or lift heavy equipment, such as vacuum cleaners, up and down the stairs. If time allows, why not pop in and do a weekly or fortnightly clean, or organise a cleaning service for your relative? This way they can maintain their independence in comfort.

Ransome Mobility is a family run company offering mobility aids, domestic stairlifts, and car adaptations. Just click on the link above to find out more.