Best ways to provide independence for seniors
Today's senior citizens are enjoying a quality of life that was rarely available to their historical counterparts. They're also living longer than ever before, and many are choosing to age in place rather than enter retirement communities. However, this isn't without its downside — many seniors end up experiencing at least some degree of isolation, especially after the time comes when they can no longer enjoy the freedom of operating a motor vehicle. Loss of independence is one of the biggest fears of many modern seniors, but fortunately, there are strategies available designed to help them retain as much autonomy over their lives as possible. Following are just four of the many steps you can take to help your senior loved one remain as independent as possible.
Seek Out Alternative Transportation Options
As mentioned previously, many seniors' first experience with loss of independence comes when it's no longer safe for them to drive, especially for those who don't live within easy distance of public transportation. Fortunately, alternative transportation options exist. For instance, many senior centers operate vans or small buses for the purpose of ensuring that everyone who wants to attend their activities and events is able to do so, and most churches routinely provide transportation to and from services. Personal caregivers may also provide rides to medical appointments, shopping, and social activities.
At Visiting Angels Asheville, we are unique in that we do actually provide transportation in the context of care.
Perform a Safety Upgrade on the Senior's Living Environment
Slips, falls, and other household mishaps are other factors with the potential to chip away at the average senior's sense of independence. Giving their living environment a safety upgrade helps make it possible for them to keep living an independent lifestyle. Ideas include installing grab bars near showers, tubs, toilets, and sinks, ensuring bright, ambient lighting in all rooms, replacing throw rugs with non slip, short-fibered carpeting, and making sure that beds, chairs, and sofas are at a height that's easy to get on and off of. If mobility issues are a part of the picture, a skilled home contractor can help devise a customized remodeling plan designed to best meet your loved one's individual needs and preferences.
Include Your Senior Loved One in Family Activities
It can be tempting to leave seniors out of family activities such as trips to the zoo or picnics in the park thinking you're doing them a favor because they wouldn't be up to it or that it wouldn't be fair to your children to limit their fun because of the needs an elderly relative might impose on the situation, but most of the time, including them has more benefits than drawbacks. Your grandchildren will cherish the memories of time spent with their grandparents far more than they'll resent having to leave the zoo a little early.
Hire a Senior Care Professional to Come to the Home
A professional caregiver comes to the senior's home and helps with daily tasks such as cleaning, bathing, meal preparation, eating, dressing, laundry, transfer, incontinence and other activities related to daily living. Depending on the individual needs of your senior loved one, the caregiver may also help with bathing, dressing, and other personal care tasks. At Visiting Angels, we provide a customized, in home care routine designed to promote an independent lifestyle for seniors who need a little extra help.
Please contact our office at 828-665-3944 for more information on how our skilled and compassionate caregivers can help your senior loved one get the most out of his or her retirement years.