Encouraging Senior Independence
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There are many challenges that come with old age. Besides being old and frail, your sense of independence during this stage of life is also threatened.
Being independent plays a huge role for seniors to maintain their health and strength. In fact, this sense of independence is actually an important factor throughout life – from at a young age all the way to being an elderly. So, as you consider these 5 strategies that encourage independence for seniors, you will be better able to help your old folks, as well as your future self when you reach this inevitable age.
- Allow seniors to make their own decisions
The first thing that you must understand is that when people reach old age, their body naturally degenerates. This means that their abilities become limited. Therefore, old people no longer have the strength that they once had when they were younger. This, of course, can get frustrating for them, especially when it comes to things that they were used to doing often.
So, one of the biggest ways that you can help seniors maintain their independence is by trusting them enough to make their own decisions. At the very least, you can provide options for them to decide on. That way, they can still feel like they are in control of their life. This strategy is also a great way for seniors to avoid feeling discouraged, which can commonly come with being considered old.
- Make their homes easily accessible
Today, thanks to advanced technology and medical development, people are living longer than past generations. This means that more and more nursing homes are being built to cater to the increasing number of seniors.
Despite how good or beneficial nursing homes are, though, most seniors prefer to continue living in their homes. After all, being in your own home can bring a lot of comfort and security. So, what you can do to make sure that your grandparents or even parents keep their independence at home is to make their house easily accessible. This can mean building a ramp or setting up electronic methods for simple entering and exits.
- Ensure that their homes are safe and secure
Besides turning your old folk’s house into an easily accessible home, you should also ensure that it is a safe place to live in. Because your actions are restricted during this age, there are fewer things that you can do and this includes defending yourself from dangers.
By setting up safety equipment in the house, not only will seniors feel more secure, but you will also feel reassured that they will be safe by themselves. In addition, you can buy safety equipment that you can set up inside the house too. As a result, all of these safety gears and systems will help make seniors feel much more independent.
- Prepare all items and objects for convenient use
What this strategy means is that every elderly home should be set up in a convenient manner for seniors to not have to work too hard to get something. This, for example, might mean that you will need to make some slight remodeling in the kitchen so that the food storage cupboard is at a comfortable height level. That way, seniors living at home will have less chances of struggling just to get food.
This strategy can be applied to other things in the house as well, such as organizing utensils and kitchenware to be within proximity to each other to avoid constant moving around or placing remote controls within reachable areas like at a small table by the couch. These little things that you can do for seniors will make a great impact on how easy their life can be without you having to do everything for them.
- Introduce technology to seniors
This last strategy is one that might be a bit costly, but will no doubt encourage independence. This is because having voice-operated machines or sound-sensitive tools can help seniors feel empowered by not having to require help from others. One thing to remember about the elderly is that they tend to be stubborn when it comes to asking for help.
So, as you introduce them to technology that they could use on their own, they will feel a sense of pride in performing things themselves. You will also feel more at ease knowing that your loved ones have everything they need to accommodate their day to day needs without constantly worrying.
Why Independence is Important for Seniors
When you start to grow old and frail, you will begin to notice how fragile life is. As you realize this, doing certain things that were once simple and trivial will start to become difficult and even complex. As an elderly man or woman with no more work to do or children to take care of, this can get very frustrating and discouraging.
As a senior citizen, your life is no longer needed within the community, at least for economical purposes. Rather, in today’s society, the elderly are encouraged to retire and settle down for the remainder of their lives. For some old-timers, particularly those who have worked their whole lives, this can be a tough reality to accept. Therefore, helping older people to maintain their independence is even more important in order to help them enjoy what life they have left.
Independence builds personal strength
As mentioned already, having a sense of independence can make you feel in control. This mindset can definitely help seniors feel, not only good about themselves but also confident in taking care of themselves if they live alone.
The longer a senior can take care of their own self, the more optimistic they will view life. This outlook can build their strength to keep living and enjoying the little things that bring happiness in life. Even if they know that they’re slowly dying away, they will at least remember that they lived their life to the fullest and as best as they could.
Independence promotes positivity
When you have lived for tens of years and have plenty of life experience, it can be easy to feel discourage knowing that you don’t have many years left. It also doesn’t help that you’re children are all grown up and no longer need your help, not to mention that most seniors are no longer needed in the workplace.
The last thing that old people want is to feel powerless. So, by encouraging them to be independent as much as possible, you are helping them promote a positive attitude that will help them to get through the trials of old age. Furthermore, a positive attitude has been proven countless times to increase well-being and health.
Whether you are past the halfway mark or have already reached the old age category, it is never too late to prepare to maintain your independence. An independent elderly can help make all parties, both themselves and their guardian’s life’s easier. As you apply these 5 strategies that encourage independence for seniors, you will spend more of your precious time focusing on visiting your loved ones that just taking care of them.
Written exclusively for our company by Angie Enero