It’s always difficult to accept when your family members get older. As they start to slow down, it’s natural to want to take over their hardships to make their lives easier. However, seniors need to keep a sense of self-sufficiency to stay physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. For caregivers struggling to find a balance, here’s how to help your aging loved one maintain independence.
Keep Them Engaged
Senior citizens need to stay engaged to maintain their cognitive functions. Keep their mind stimulated by playing board games or putting together a puzzle. It’s also helpful to keep them engaged socially. Make sure your loved one is getting quality time with their friends and keeping up with their social activities, like going to church and club meetings. Your family member will thrive if they have access to the things they’ve always enjoyed.
One of the best ways to help your aging loved one maintain independence is to allow them as much autonomy as possible. It’s tempting to take the reigns and make big decisions for them, and sometimes, that’s necessary. However, it’s just as important to give them a choice in matters that directly affect them, especially if they have the mental capacity to do so. Nobody wants to feel like they can’t make decisions for themselves, so make sure your loved one is in the loop about what’s happening in their own life.
Everyone needs some physical activity in their lives to stay healthy, and this is especially true for seniors. Encouraging exercise is easy, and they won’t have to do any heavy lifting to see results. Any amount of movement is good for the elderly, even if it’s something as simple as going for a walk down the street. Be sure to follow any doctor recommendations to avoid any unnecessary injuries.
The best way to help your family member live independently is to give them the tools to keep themselves safe. Make sure their home works for them by installing handrails and grab bars, securing rugs and mats, and eliminating anything that might cause a fall. Their living space should be accessible, so use mobility tools such as walkers, wheelchairs, and chair lifts so that they can move around without assistance.
It’s hard to watch your loved ones struggle, but letting them stay independent for as long as possible is the best thing for their well-being. Keep communication open and let your family member express their wants and wishes. Together, you can make the best decisions that benefit everyone involved.