The decision to age at home is an important one that deserves careful thought. Many senior loved ones wish to retain control of their lives throughout the aging process, which can be difficult for family members who don’t know when and where to offer support. Personal independence for seniors is of paramount importance and requires a high level of sensitivity and dedication on the part of the caregiver. While health concerns, and other physical or mental challenges will inevitably change life at home, with our simple tips, you can support your elderly parent with compassion and dignity.
Home Improvements for Safety and Independence.
Maintaining personal autonomy is a priority for most seniors. Some age-friendly home improvements are a great first step in helping your loved one feel safer in their own space.
Simple additions such as handrails and grab bars in the bathroom can greatly improve a supported sense of independence. Installing better lighting in the home, widening doorways, and purchasing weighted cutlery will all serve in making independent living safer and easier.
The act of de-cluttering is also significant, as it ensures clarity in daily surroundings, and helps keep personal items in order.
Transition to clothing that is simpler to use, ie. an elastic waistband if buttons are difficult. When clothing and other daily items are easy to access and use, independent living becomes much more enjoyable, and allows our elderly parents to continue with their daily routines.
Encourage Social Engagement and Physical Exercise.
We’re all aware that a healthy lifestyle is important, and in the case of seniors, it can greatly enhance both mental and physical well-being.
Empowering our loved ones to continue with both physical, and social activities can stave off depression and benefit all kinds of health issues. Exercise, nutrition, and social engagement can be difficult to maintain with age-related limitations, but with help and encouragement from families and caregivers, these routines can be met with ease and regularity.
Encourage your parent to attend weekly social activities, such as bingo or community center events, and suggest physical exercises like walking, swimming, or yoga for seniors. Foster social interactions, such as keeping in touch via telephone with friends and family, or taking your parent out for dinner or to the movies.
Occasionally, caring for an elderly parent can become overwhelming for adult children because of other life commitments, such as a career and childcare. In these cases, a Caregiver can be an integral part of the team that supports parental independence. Keeping your parent active and socially engaged, while accompanying them on walks, listening to music with them, or taking them on a day trip may all be part of your senior parent’s care plan.
Communication Is Key
No one wants to feel like they’re losing control of their own life, and many seniors say that they feel the loss of their independence as a devastating blow. Instead of doing everything for your parents, offer the support they require to do it themselves. Regular and open communication with our parents can ensure that we are actively valuing their independence and personal autonomy.
No matter the physical or mental limitations our parents are experiencing, this is a monumentally important task. Keep parents involved in their own care, and discuss which level of support they feel they need.
Assess needs often and encourage personal choice whenever possible. Ask them which area of their life they’re having difficulty with (if they feel lonely, a walking or dinner companion may help. If nutrition and tidying is a challenge, a Caregiver could be a seamless option for maintaining independence).
Above all, we want to create a lasting quality of life for our elderly parents, so they can truly enjoy the activities they love, while feeling safe, comfortable, and in control.
When caring for an aging parent becomes challenging, we are here to help. Our goal at Independence Matters is to help your loved ones remain in their home as long as they wish, providing it’s safe to do so.
We work closely with both our clients and their families to implement a non-medical care plan that works for everyone. To find out more, visit us on our website: https://independencematters.ca
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