Everyone should have the opportunity to live independently with dignity including the senior population. Even though aging can make independent living somewhat difficult, support from family members or a professional entity can help the senior maintain independence in his or her own home.
The natural effects of old age make independent living more difficult than before. Mobility issues, isolation, loneliness, and financial strains are some of the most common contributors to the loss of independence in aging adults.
This article is part of my “Importance of Elders” series that features 50+ articles on keeping seniors and the elderly happy and healthy so that we can have them in our lives longer. See the entire series here.
Why Your Aging Parent Needs Independence!
Loss of independence can be quite discouraging to seniors. They have spent their entire life living independently by working jobs, raising families, and making decisions. While there are natural hindrances to independent living with aging, we cannot underestimate the importance of independent living for seniors.
Here are some of the benefits your loved one will get from living an independent life.
Feel like an individual
The ability to make decisions and choices about a person’s life has a big impact on how he or she feels about him/herself. If you no longer make decisions and choices about your life, you won’t feel like an individual anymore.
Older adults have lived their entire life making decisions and choices about themselves and their families. They will lose their sense of self when they cannot make independent decisions about their life anymore.
This can have a negative impact on both the mental and physical health of the individual.
Sense of purpose
The senior may lose his/her sense of purpose with the loss of independence. It can by isolating and develop feelings of hopelessness and depression over time. The negative impact of mental health can lower the quality of their lives. Independence will allow the aging adult to take on the unique challenges of aging and overcome these challenges with a sense of accomplishment.
Sense of control
Most of the time, independence is the only thing that a senior feels that he/she controls. Independent living empowers seniors and gives them a sense of control in the process. It helps promote a feeling of achievement and self-worth in the individual.
Independent living promotes good relationships. Seniors can stay connected with family members with the right type of support for independent living.
Tips For Better Senior Independence
A lot changes in a person’s life as he or she ages. With some practical tips, your quality of life at seventy can be as great as it was when you were thirty. Here are some tips for better senior independence.
Get a phone
If you care about the independent living of your aging loved one, the first thing to do is to buy him/her a cell phone – a smartphone or a basic cell phone. Instant communication between the senior and his/her family is the most important advantage of a cell phone. It helps the senior whether he or she requires some assistance or just wants to keep in touch.
On the other hand, an easy to use smartphone is a great way to set up reminders such as when the senior needs to take his/her medications and if they have something planned for the day.
Personal hygiene and grooming assistance
Some seniors may require assistance in performing some of their day-to-day tasks including personal hygiene and grooming. If your parent is incapacitated or in a wheelchair, an in-home care assistant can provide the necessary support to achieve these tasks.
Meal prep is important to take care of the health and well-being of your loved one. Today, there are options to get entire meal packages delivered to your doorstep depending on the preference of your loved one.
Independent living is important even while you are aging. The loss of independence can lead to physical and mental health issues as well as lowering of quality of life. That is why you need to provide the necessary support for your loved one to live independently even when he or she finds it difficult to manage their daily activities due to old age.