Help Older Adults Maintain Independence to Promote Quality of Life
It’s very easy to become swept up in the everyday tasks of caregiving for a senior you love. There’s so much to be done, and often it’s just much easier and much more efficient to do it all yourself, letting your loved one relax. After all, our elders have taken care of things for a lifetime; don’t they deserve a break?
The reality, however, is that retaining independence and dignity during our later years is exceedingly necessary to our wellbeing, something that stems from the need to have a sense of meaning and purpose in life. And even while ensuring safety is, of course, our primary concern, there are ways to help older adults maintain independence and control whenever possible. Some ideas to consider include the following:
- Work together on projects. While standing at the kitchen sink and scrubbing pots and pans may be unsafe or difficult for a senior, maybe she or he can sit at the table and dry them. The senior may not be in the position to bake a cake from start to finish but can mix ingredients while you reminisce about recipes made through the years. It could take a little planning, but it’s worthwhile to determine techniques to modify tasks to include the individual’s assistance whenever possible.
- Allow for decision-making. Seek out opportunities to ask for the older adult’s opinion, allowing her or him to remain in control. Rather than assuming he or she will want a turkey sandwich for lunch, present options and ask for the senior’s preference. Before automatically accompanying the senior into the physician’s office for an exam, ask if he or she would like you there. Having a say in even the most basic decisions tends to make a difference in self-esteem.
- Ensure safety with respect. Safety is, undoubtedly, extremely important, but there are ways to ensure an older adult remains safe without overstepping boundaries. Medical alert systems, for example, are a great way to cultivate independence in seniors while providing them with the means to call easily for help when needed.
- Hire trained in-home caregivers. Some older adults balk at the idea of their adult children assisting them with personal care needs, such as using the toilet or taking a bath. A professional, who is trained and experienced in helping older adults maintain dignity while staying safe, is often a more acceptable solution.
Contact the professional care team at Sage Home Care for additional information about options for trusted in-home care in Darien, CT and surrounding areas. Specially-trained dementia care professionals are available to care for the senior family members you love with the respect and attention to dignity they deserve. We are available for as little as a couple of hours every week or as much as 24/7 care. Contact us at (800) 578-4554 to schedule a free assessment, the first step towards a personalized care plan to meet your family’s needs.