It’s difficult to watch a senior loved one age, especially as he or she begins to need more assistance with daily tasks. Some dependence will naturally be necessary simply because of the way the human body and mind ages. The good news is there are some ways you can encourage your loved one to maintain as much of his or her cherished independence as possible. Here are seven suggestions to keep in mind.
1. Don’t Coddle Your Loved One
It’s easy to get into the habit of instinctively doing everything for your loved one when providing care. However, too much coddling could minimize your loved one’s independence. Instead, let your loved one do what you know he or she can safely do, but supervise when you think he or she might need some help.
If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality home care, Harrisburg Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
2. Allow Your Loved One to Determine His or Her Own Pace
Some family caregivers become so bogged down with schedules and routines that they unintentionally rush a loved one they’re helping. What this can do is increase the senior’s risk of becoming confused, agitated, and less self-reliant. Seniors are more likely to be as independent as possible with daily tasks if they’re allowed to go at their own pace. Just pay attention to cues suggesting your loved one might need some assistance.
3. Provide Access to Services or Products that Promote Independence
According to the Census Bureau, there are nearly 50 million adults 65 and older in the United States alone, which is part of the reason there are so many convenient assistance services and products available today for older adults looking to retain their independence.
But your loved one may not be fully aware of what’s available, so help him or her stay independent by providing information about the services, products, and tools such as:
• Meal delivery services
• Reaching and grabbing devices
• Support shoes/stockings
• Articulating bedside trays
• Senior transportation services
4. Take Time to Listen to His or Her Concerns
An overlooked way to encourage your loved one to be more independent is to address his or her concerns and frustrations. Ask what specifically is affecting his or her independence on a regular basis, then come up with possible solutions. For instance, your loved one might have a difficult time going down to the basement to do laundry or preparing daily meals that require a lot of work. Possible solutions include helping your loved one get a stackable washer/dryer combo that can be placed in the kitchen, or preparing some meals that can be easily frozen and heated up.
Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Harrisburg seniors can depend on.
5. Help Your Loved One Adjust His or Her Living Environment
There are several ways you can affordably adjust your loved one’s living environment, which can help him or her stay independent in the comfort of home. Such efforts might involve:
• Installing handrails in the bath/shower area and by the toilet
• Removing fall hazards like loose/slippery rugs and stray cords
• Placing frequently used items within easy reach
• Putting floor items like shoes on shelves or chairs to reduce the need to bend
6. Suggest a Remote Emergency Assistance Provider
Remote emergency assistance is provided by companies that usually offer bracelets or necklaces that can be worn by older adults. Your loved one can either press a button if he or she needs help or opt for a device that automatically detects a fall and sends help right away.
7. Consider In-Home Care Services
One other way to encourage your loved one to be independent is to take advantage of in-home care services when you’re not able to lend a hand. Such services are typically designed with senior independence in mind. Your loved one can arrange for assistance with things like certain daily tasks and errands while still independently doing other things on his or her own terms.
When considering elder care, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (717) 540-4663 to find out how we can boost your loved one’s quality of life.