What gives you freedom? Making your own decisions. Being in charge of your schedule. Doing the activities you want to do. When we are little, independence means to escape the grasp of a parent with a milestone like crawling or walking. When we are teenagers, it is the freedom that comes with driving and being out unsupervised. When we become adults, it is moving out of the house. As we age, freedoms begin to change as limitations and health changes. Many seniors have led active, full lives and the decline in health, change in memory, or struggle of surgery or illness can lead to the harsh reality of compromised independence.
We know that being in a familiar environment, among your own possessions and memories, is the best place to promote health and healing. With a little support in the home in the form of personal care to assist with those tasks that have become more difficult, health can be regained and independence can be kept.
Does this story sound familiar? “Dad will be turning ninety years old. He is an extremely independent man; lives alone and is able to be independent in 95% of his daily living.
He stopped driving over 15 years ago and no longer feels safe taking the bus. So a caregiver drives him wherever he needs to go. The caregiver assists him with grocery shopping and doctors appointments. She also helps Dad by doing chores around the house. (laundry etc.)
I’m sure you have a friend or family member who is in a similar situation; with the desire to live in their own house with the commitment to hold onto their independence.
Home Care Partners of Nebraska brings services to our clients which support their effort in maintaining their desired level of independence .
That’s the freedom of living a full life.
How exactly is independence promoted?
In some cases, a client is told they can no longer safely drive. We drive for them making sure they still get haircuts, groceries, doctor’s appointments, and the picnic in the park if they wish! For those who find their mobility is compromised, we assist them getting around and help alleviate the risk of falling. For those who lose the ability to read, we read to them keeping them in touch with the outside world. For those who cannot cook, we cook for or with them. And for those who have lost family members over the years and find themselves lonely, we are companions and keep them company.
Home Care is a proponent of independence and seeks not to take independence away, but to reinstate and preserve it.
Celebrate this Independence Day by encouraging your loved one to practice these 4 tips from the Alzheimer’s Society:
Promote independence in daily care: Can your loved one comb her hair? Let her do so, but be sure to leave the comb in sight so she does not forget.
Encourage physical activity: Not only will your loved one remain physically fit, but enforcing a degree of exercise will also make daily tasks easier to accomplish. If it’s a beautiful day outside, encourage your loved one to take a walk with you.
Focus on abilities: For example, if your loved one can put on his shoes but can’t tie them, buy slip-ons or Velcro shoes.
Modify the home environment: If your loved one is able to shower on her own, make it a bit easier for her by buying a shower chair. For more information on home modifications for your elderly loved one, read “Home Modifications Can Help the Elderly Stay In Their Homes” from Back Home Safely.
Promoting independence to your loved one not only builds confidence and self-management, but it could also lower your stress level as a caregiver.
For more ideas or to find out about programs for older adults, be sure to check out the Administration on Aging’s website.
Happy Independence (Days) from Home Care Partners of Nebraska.