Independence is often something we take for granted – until we reach an older age. The challenges that arise as part of the aging process mean that elderly people often worry about losing the independence they’re used to. But what is independence for older people? We’ve outlined some of the ways you can ensure your loved one remains living as independently as possible below.
Ensuring your loved one is involved in making their own decisions
At the heart of promoting independence in the elderly is involving them in any decision-making that is needed. It’s important to remember that older people are used to making their own decisions and removing this sense of autonomy can lead to feelings of denial and low mood. That’s why it’s vital to provide your loved one with the independence to make healthy life choices, by presenting them with choices and asking their opinion on major decisions – especially those that involve them. Choice and control are integral to maintaining independence in old age.
Make your loved one feel empowered
When it comes to independence and the elderly, it’s important to make sure your loved ones feel empowered to make decisions concerning their own lives. These might include:
- Ensuring that there is enough time for the person to mull over choices and decisions they need to make
- Making sure that your loved one is at the centre of any arrangements that are happening (especially if arrangements are going to significantly impact their lives)
- Reassuring them that any decisions and choices are for them to make (otherwise they may end up feeling disempowered, lonely and detached)
- Seeking extra support if you’re unsure of how to facilitate decision-making in a safe and appropriate manner
Home adaptations and practical aids
One of the simplest ways of maintaining independence in old age is being able to continue moving safely around your own home. Simple home adaptations for the elderly such as grab rails, ramps and stairlifts, can make your loved one’s home a safer place to live, providing the independence to mobilise with ease. If mobility is an issue, it may be possible to rearrange things around the house to help. For example, lowering cupboards in the kitchen for easy reach or modifying the bathroom to a wet room that has a shower seat.
Consider extra help
Depending on the needs and health status of your loved one, they may be able to remain living independently in their own home with regular visits from carers. Carers can help with everyday tasks that may hinder the independence older people are used to, such as washing, meal preparation and personal care. Visiting carers can stop by multiple times throughout the day, but if your loved one requires extra support, there is also the option of live-in care. Live-in care provides professional, around-the-clock care for those who wish to remain living in their own homes, independently.
Do you need extra help at home for your loved one?
Does your loved one feel as though they are losing the independence they have always been used to? If you feel they could benefit from our services, contact our team of friendly professionals today