4 Tips to Promote Independence

news-freedom-elder-care-new-jersey-senior-independenceTake a moment to sit down in your home and look around. Observe the foundation you have built to live securely and comfortably. Now imagine the possibility of leaving that familiar environment one day. This is practically unthinkable, especially knowing that you have worked hard to put a roof over your head and provide support for your family.

Many older adults choose to stay in their own homes even though living on their own can potentially become more difficult as they age.

As caregivers, we don’t want to see our elderly loved ones disconnect from the outside world and neglect their daily tasks. We want to see them live in the moment and enjoy everyday life; and they certainly wish to do the same.

February is National Senior Independence Month, and you can celebrate by encouraging your loved one to practice these 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. These are just a few ideas on how to celebrate National Senior Independence Month.

For more ideas or to find out about programs for older adults, be sure to check out the Administration on Aging’s website.