As people age, they will find themselves depending on others for help with daily tasks. Loss of independence is a natural part of growing older, and it’s important to know how to cope with it. Some types of independence that seniors may lose include memory, sight, hearing, decision-making ability, social life, ability to clean or cook, mobility, and the ability to live alone. Unfortunately, we are not given a “How To…” manual that works for everyone and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to getting a person through this journey. We compiled a few tips that we find helpful in helping seniors deal with their loss of independence.
Ask Instead of Telling
Requiring assistance with activities of daily living does not mean that seniors must give up their dignity. Being a caregiver for someone who has lost their independence is a supportive role, not a leading role. Caregivers should ask seniors about their preferences, needs, etc. rather than telling them. For example, if a senior requires meal preparation, a caregiver should ask for input for meal planning. Or if they need assistance with dressing, offer them choices of what they would like to wear. By showing this respect, seniors who have in the past been resistant to in-home assistance will usually become more willing to accept the help.
Help them to understand that their feelings are valid. Feeling afraid, angry or frustrated are feelings that are not uncommon.
Let them know that it’s okay to ask for help. It may be frustrating and at times embarrassing, but they may have to depend on others for everyday tasks. Depending on others can be very humbling and uncomfortable at first, but it will become easier as time goes on.
Allow them to feel comfortable in being honest. A senior may need assistance with certain tasks, but they still need control over their lives. If they feel that they are being micromanaged more than necessary, let them know that it’s okay to say something.
There are no easy answers to helping a person deal with their loss of independence. But with patience, compassion, and encouragement, you can help them to move forward in productive ways that can enrich their lives. Home care is an option for seniors needing assistance but choosing to stay in the comfort of their homes. Contact Allcare Home Health today and schedule an assessment with one of our experienced RNs. With a little help from our compassionate, trained caregivers, your loved one may be able to maintain their independence and quality of life. (919) 301-0236
Ref: ConsumerAffairs.com, Family Matters In-Home Care