When caring for an older or disabled loved one, it can be easy to let your instinct to problem-solve take over, but encouraging independence in small, everyday ways will increase a senior’s feelings of self-worth and achievement. Find ways to let the person care for himself and encourage independence, while still providing necessary care with the following tips:
- Encourage him to do things for himself, even if met with reluctance or stubbornness.
- Provide opportunities for exercise and activities.
- Ask before taking over. It’s normal to want to jump immediately into help mode when you see a loved one struggling with a task, but before you do so, ask if help is needed. It could be that your loved one just needs a little more time to accomplish the task on his or her own.
- Research assistive devices such as medication reminder devices, products to assist with specific disabilities and gadgets to make everyday activities such as opening a jar or holding a utensil easier.
- Let your loved one do some activities that you know he is capable of, like washing up or walking a few steps without assistance. It is important to remember that even if you have to help a little or provide supervision for safety, small activities like these still provide a sense of achievement.
- Assist with home safety adaptations such as bathroom grab bars, hand rails, adequate lighting, home accessibility and furniture placement.
As today’s seniors are living longer and striving to remain independent for as long as possible, the role of the family caregiver must adjust to help promote that independence, not stifle it. Contact Live Free Home Health Care to learn more about how our in-home care services help seniors live safely and independently at home.