3 Keys to Senior Independence

As memory loss occurs, bone density decreases, muscle tone loosens, and mental perspective shifts toward the late phases of life, senior independence becomes an important consideration and goal. With the threat of accidents of all sorts, senior independence is often a double-edged sword. As children of senior parents, you want them to retain as much independence as possible while also staying as safe as possible. Check out the tips below to help foster your loved one’s independence.senior independence

Encourage Self-Reliance – From bills to cooking and all of the personal self-care necessities in-between, self-reliance is the number one factor of independence. While it’s often tempting to take over everything when a parent experiences difficulty with aging, the less you take over, the more responsibility and independence remains intact. If in doubt, give your loved one the benefit of the doubt for performing everyday tasks. Memory loss and other cognitive deterioration occurs more quickly when the mind is left idle and without responsibility. Step in slowly to take care of things you know your parent needs help with doing. If there’s too much for you to do while keeping your stress levels and commitments manageable, consider seeking the help of a home care professional before removing a loved one from his or her home environment.

Show Respect – When aged parents experience significant memory loss or demonstrate behaviors that are less than adult-like, sometimes people unwittingly respond by treating them in a way that is less than respectful. If you find yourself talking about your senior parent to someone else as though he or she isn’t there, that’s a strong clue you’re not treating them with adult respect. Consider how difficult it is to go from an authority figure and provider to someone who finds it difficult to perform simple tasks. When seniors feel respected, they also feel more capable of doing things for themselves, which in turn increases independence.

Engage & Enliven – What would you do with lots of hours on your hands day after day? Social engagement is a critical factor for keeping spirits and independence levels high in senior adults. Even if your schedule is very busy, make consistent efforts to get your senior parent involved with social activities. Include them in your own family gatherings, and enliven them with new activities. From Tai Chi groups to simply going shopping, the more active a senior is, the healthier they feel and become in mind, body, and spirit. Home health care is also a great way to make sure that your senior parent is receiving the social interaction and activity engagement necessary for a healthy lifestyle.

For more information about the important dynamics of senior independence, contact us for professional advice.

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