Helping Seniors Maintain Independence

Whether caring for a loved one or helping them deal with the changes of aging, as long as their living needs are met for a healthy and safe environment, they can maintain the quality and dignity of life and be independent while living at home.

A major factor in being independent is mobility. This physical motion is essential for independence in activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, and using the restroom.

Walking involves many physical abilities, including muscle strength, sensory function such as vision, cognition, and motor control. How capable a senior can walk is predictive of their independence in e future. Being mobile means that your senior can leave their home and participate in activities in the community without assistance. Independence is threatened when mobility is limited.

Aging is bound to catch up to every one of us. Maintaining independence and physical abilities is a goal most seniors strive to achieve. This is an area family caregivers can encourage and support in.

Here are some things we can encourage and help senior loved ones to do in order to manage their own aging .

* Stay physically active each day! — To prevent functional decline, loss of mobility, and falls it is necessary to keep moving and strengthen those muscles. Help your senior loved one find activities they enjoy and get them moving! Get them to dance, walk, garden, swim, golf or just move each day.
* Get social — Participating in events and activities outside of the home is a great way to engage socially. Go see a movie, go to church, attend a festival, enroll in a class or night of painting, go shopping, volunteer in the community, talk with family members, and take every opportunity to be social. Find a friend and do things together.
* Observe their abilities — Take a close look at what your senior is and isn’t capable of doing. Is it something your senior can improve or do they need to find an accommodation to continued independence?
* Learn to accept assistance — If a senior’s family members want to help, if you can afford home care schedule the help. Knowing support is needed and accepting the additional help will lengthen the time your senior can remain independent. Encourage them to do everything they can to help her or himself. When you do things for them that they can do themselves you put their independence at risk.
* Say hello to technology — If your senior wants to be independent, there are some technology devices that can help them stay at home. Medical monitors will help them stay well and out of the hospital. There are internet connections and social media platforms that will help them stay socially engaged.
* Make home improvements — Make adjustments to their living space that will help them be safe but also live independently.
* Handle finances — Senior loved ones have hopefully planned for their future and have funds available to meet their basic needs. Family caregivers may need to assist them with having a budget, getting access to all the benefits for which they are entitled, and putting practices into place that will reduce their liability to financial scams so their money remains secure.

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