Aging in place: Caring for an aging parent
By Rachel Heggen, Community Relations & Development Specialist, Meals on Wheels Diablo Region
In honor of National Occupational Therapy Month Yvonne Tweeten, Occupational Therapist with Meals on Wheels Diablo Region’s Fall Prevention Program, talked about the work we do with seniors to keep them safe at home.
Difficulty climbing stairs, feeling unbalanced, or being unsure about getting in and out of the bathtub are everyday problems that Yvonne has addressed for the past ten years at MOW Diablo Region. These are common issues for aging seniors who have difficulty accepting that everyday tasks that once were simple are now challenging. For many seniors, this can be extremely frustrating and for their adult children, it can be worrisome. The Fall Prevention Program focuses on helping seniors age safely in their home.
“We are an ally to the adult children,” said Yvonne. “I assess the home and point out potential fall risks. I also observe how the senior is getting around.” Once the assessment is completed, Yvonne works with a licensed contractor to make needed home modifications “We might recommend a ramp, railings, or a tub transfer bench. We develop trust with the senior and the adult children who are often the main caregivers. We also provide education to keep the senior safe.”
An analysis by the Center for Retirement Research found that 10 percent of adults ages 60 to 69 serve as caregivers to their aging parents, as do 12 percent of adults aged 70 and older. Having an Occupational Therapist as a part of the support team is important when it comes to caring for an older parent and helps the elderly parent maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Yvonne has a special understanding of concerns many may have with an aging parent. Her mom is 90 and lives in Wisconsin. “It’s important that a senior age with dignity, and that’s what Meals on Wheels Diablo Region’s Fall Prevention Program helps them to do.”
To learn more about Meals on Wheels Diablo Region’s Fall Prevention Program, visit https://www.mowdiabloregion.org/fall-prevention