When your loved one ages, it might be tempting to jump in and help whenever they want to do something. While it’s a good gesture and might prevent accidents, seniors should remain as independent as possible. This is because independence plays a significant role in mental, physical, and emotional health.
As family and friends, you should concentrate on supporting them instead of doing everything for them. To help you understand how you can promote independency for your senior loved one, here are some helpful tips:
Discuss The Changes Together
Aging is inevitable. However, most people don’t welcome this reality with open arms due to the changes that come with it. The reality might even become harder once seniors realize they need help to go about daily life. To avoid putting them in a dark corner, consider discussing the changes and how they’d want you to help physically or cognitively. Help them understand the phase they’re in while informing them that your stepping in isn’t out of pity or due to their inability to do anything.
It’s also a good idea to educate seniors about challenges they might encounter due to their age. Let them know you can help with some while others require professional help. In such a case, you might want to hire occupational therapy services to make their and your life easy and comfortable. Occupational therapy will walk hand in hand with the senior, determining their strengths, challenges, and difficulties they face and assisting them accordingly. These professionals will also help relieve the pain that comes with age.
Avoid Jumping In Quickly
Regardless of how often a senior requires your help, it doesn’t necessarily mean they always and will always do. Therefore, it would benefit their independence if you don’t jump in to help each time they try to do something. Allow them to try. You never know; they might do the activity without a helping hand.
However, after watching them and determining that they’re experiencing challenges and would like some help, ask whether they need you. By doing this, you’ll give them choices that can greatly benefit their peace of mind.
Involve Them In Daily Activities
Aging doesn’t mean the end of life. Daily activities must go on as usual. It’s, therefore, vital to avoid making your loved one feel as if there’s nothing to live for or they have no use. To make them feel in the right place and independent, involve them in daily activities such as baking, planning meals, folding the laundry, or shopping. Allow them to decide what to cook, TV show to watch, or music to listen to.
Focus On Their Abilities
Independently handling various activities and tasks helps seniors maintain their abilities while enhancing self-esteem. With that in mind, encourage your loved one’s abilities instead of concentrating on what they can’t do.
A senior’s ability might be as little as being able to set the table. In such a situation, have them arrange the table whenever you want to use it. When cooking, ask them to help you prepare the ingredients, even if it’s chopping the tomatoes.
Support Their Social Life
With age, most seniors get depressed and isolated, a state that can negatively affect their general well-being. To avoid this, it’s essential to spend quality time with them and show them that you still care.
Spending time with seniors can help them feel empowered and independent for maintaining essential relationships. As family and friends, arrange regular visits and phone calls to check if they’re holding on fine. You can also enroll them in a class at a reputable senior center where they can mingle with fellow seniors, play games such as solving puzzles, and participate in cooking, among other things.
Physical activities promote good health and encourage mobility. And with stable mobility, a senior can move around without help, finding it easy to participate in different activities. Therefore, it’s advisable to encourage physical activities like yoga, planting flowers, or walking. Chair exercises at home can also improve a senior’s health. If a physical therapist has recommended some exercises, encourage your loved one to do them regularly for their general well-being.
Make Safety Modifications
Falls are serious in older adults. They might be fatal or cause severe injuries. If your loved one has once fallen or tripped, they might develop excessive fear towards bathing, walking, showering, or going about daily activities without help.
With that in mind, it’s essential to make safety modifications in the home to encourage seniors to do their daily activities independently. For example, you can install grab rails and chair lifts and invest in modified utensils and ramps to promote safety for seniors at home.
Age comes with the inability to do various things. As a result, some seniors depend on their loved ones to move on with their lives. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that seniors are incapable of doing anything. Nor does it mean that with encouragement, they can’t be independent. In fact, with little or no help, they can handle some daily activities with ease and live a peaceful, happy life. Therefore, families and friends should try as much as possible to promote independence in older adults. If you’re aiming for the same, consider the above-discussed tips to make your loved one’s old age worth living.