When you picture an elderly loved one who’s independent, qualities like self-reliance, self-assurance, and self-sufficiency probably come to mind. For those aged 65-and-over, aging in place with dignity helps ensure a higher quality of life and sense of wellbeing.
But the natural effects of aging can sometimes make independent living harder than it used to be. What follows are reasons why maintaining their independence is so important for that special senior in your life.
Independent Seniors Face these Challenges
Since the average senior spends their entire life working various jobs, raising a family, and making key decisions, losing their independence can be discouraging.
These often-unanticipated challenges can threaten the independence of aging-in-place adults:
- Cognitive health challenges like dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Chronic illness
- Difficulties with mobility
- Behavioral changes like isolation and loneliness
- Financial hardships
- Losing their driving privileges
How Self-Sufficiency Benefits Older Adults
As an informal caregiver, the importance of empowering your loved one to maintain their independence cannot be overstated. Self-sufficient seniors typically enjoy these benefits:
Older adults have lived their entire lives with their own personalities and beliefs. The ability to make personal choices throughout the day has a big impact on how they feel about themselves. When those decisions are taken away, a senior starts to feel less like an individual. They may feel more like a burden to those around them.
Allow your loved one to express their individuality by helping them personalize their home. Let them decorate with photos and other items that reflect the things they care about and enjoy. As age starts to affect their ability to perform activities of daily living, continue to involve them in decisions. For example, what clothes they want to wear or foods they would like to eat.
Balance and strength
Millions of seniors every year lose their independence after experiencing a serious fall.
Maintaining a person’s balance and strength is a major determining factor in their ability to avoid falls that threaten their independent lifestyle.
Find ways for your loved one to strengthen core muscles and improve balance that will motivate them to exercise and stay active. Regular exercise is also good for a senior’s immune system, self-esteem, blood sugar levels, and waistline- all of which help support a more independent lifestyle.
Although gradual memory loss and age tend to go together, independence and activity have been shown to improve thinking and memory skills. For one, researchers have found that higher activity levels increase blood flow to the brain.
Scientists have also discovered that using the mind more often even after the age of 65 helps preserve memory. Notably, if your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, something as simple as having a daily routine or going through old photo albums will help promote a sharper memory that ultimately supports their independence.
Sense of Purpose
Losing one’s independence is a precursor for loneliness and social isolation. Isolated seniors often develop feelings of depression and hopelessness. These can then negatively affect their mental health and reduce their quality of life.
However, when an older adult remains independent it empowers them with a sense of purpose that carries over into their relationships with family, neighbors and friends. Even when a senior is limited by mobility issues, they can still gain a sense of purpose by volunteering in the community, teaching an online class, or making phone calls to fellow shut-ins.
Keeping Alabama Seniors Independent is Our Specialty
Helping an aging loved one maintain their independence isn’t easy when you’re busy or live far away. At Seniors Prefer Homecare, our specialty is providing reliable in-home daily living assistance services that help clients enjoy more active, independent lives.
While serving as an extended family in the home, our highly trained professionals use a unique approach that’s designed to lift the spirits of those we serve while maintaining their dignity, independence, and self-esteem.
Once you place your trust in our “cream of the crop” services, our compassionate caregivers can deliver in-home daily living assistance support. Our services include personal care, companionship care, respite care, dementia care, household duties, and even live-in and 24-hour care. To learn more about Seniors Prefer Homecare now, or to schedule a FREE initial consultation for a senior in Tuscaloosa or Huntsville, AL, today, please visit us at www.seniorspreferhomecare.com!