December 18, 2018

Tips to Support Senior Independence in the Lives of Aging Loved Ones

Senior citizens make up 13% of the United States population. That percentage is set to rise all the way to 24% by the year 2060. The staggering growth of the senior population means that the possibility of you having an elderly loved one in your life is becoming increasingly likely. There are a lot of questions that circulate around one’s mind when it comes to giving their elderly parent, friend or family member the care they need in their old age. The truth is though, most seniors want less help and more independence. Walking that line of promoting senior independence for loved ones and lending a helping hand where needed is the focus of this article.

Below, our team is going to share with you 7 ways you can help the elderly people you love feel like they still have control of their life’s journey in their old age.

1. Encourage Their Social Life
As people get old, relationships can start to stale. This is particularly true with seniors since some have a tendency to become increasingly reclusive as their abilities and health deteriorate. Break that cycle and do everything you can to encourage your loved one to be social. Ask them about their friends. See if they’d like to visit them and try to facilitate the visit by offering a ride. Recommend local clubs where seniors read, play games, invest or do any number of other things your loved ones might be interested in. Anything you can do to keep an elderly person’s relationships strong will help them feel like their life has strong direction.

2. Make Them Feel Needed
Nothing undermines independence quite like doing everything for somebody. That’s why it’s important that, if possible, you allow the senior you love to do key things for themselves. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask a favor of them every now and again. Having tasks helps seniors feel capable and needed by their family. That leads to their strengthened confidence in their independence which can pave the way to a much happier life.

3. Stimulate Brain Activity
One of the reasons why seniors become progressively dependent on others is because their cognitive abilities begin to slow down. When this happens, decision-making can be hampered, reflexes slow down, and serious accidents become more likely. To help counteract the effect that aging can have on the brain, try partaking in brain-stimulating hobbies with your elderly family member or friend. Do Sudoku puzzles with them or crosswords. Find brain training games online or on a tablet. Play board games like chess. If playing games isn’t in the cards for whatever reason, striking up conversations about sports teams and asking about statistics around recent match-ups can also be mentally beneficial for seniors.

4. Upgrade Their Tech Savviness
There comes a point in a senior’s life where driving gets difficult. That reality leads to them needing to get carted around town by someone like you which again, can make them feel less independent. The good news is that in the last decade many tech solutions have come about that can help seniors circumvent some of their mobility issues. For example, if a senior needs groceries, they can leverage services like Amazon Prime or Amazon Now to get their necessities. That can significantly reduce the number of times your loved one needs to request a ride from you. If getting a ride is unavoidable, services like UBER offer special “UBER access” rides for senior citizens. The more options you can give your loved one to solve problems on their own, the better chances you’ll have of fostering a healthy degree of senior independence.

5. Be a Proponent of Exercise
Exercise can help the physical body the same way that brain games help the mind. Falls are among the top reasons why seniors get hospitalized each year. These falls often stem from decreasing strength which leads to balance issues. To help your loved one stay physically fit, encourage them to accompany you on bi-weekly walks. You can also help them get signed up for senior exercise classes at the local gym.

6. Get Proactive With Safety
If your senior loved one is going to spend time home alone, you’ll want to assess their house to reduce accident risks. Hallways that are blocked with objects someone could trip over should be cleared. Necessities that are situated on high shelves should be placed in more accessible areas. Anything you can do to get out ahead of accidents can substantially help your senior independence goals.

7. Call in a Professional
Needing an assist every now and then is an unavoidable part of growing old. To take the stress off of you and your loved one, we recommend calling in a professional in-home helper to assist with whatever your loved one needs. Senior in-home help can ensure that small accidents at home don’t turn into grave emergencies. They can also help the elderly feel confident in their independence knowing that if help is ever needed, it’s close by and won’t come at the expense of your time. Learn more about the value an in-home helper can bring to your loved one’s life by clicking here.

Wrapping Up Tips to Support Senior Independence
From supporting a healthy social life to getting professional help, there are a number of ways that you can support senior independence in your loved one to ensure that they’re living their fullest lives. To ensure that your loved one’s independence never comes at the expense of their safety, consider contacting Care Builders. Care Builders has been providing in-home help to seniors in a number major US cities for years. Let us give the senior you love the same independence fostering assist.