As seniors age, they often feel that they will lose some of their independence and freedom. This can happen due to physical declines, such as reduced mobility or worsening eyesight, or it can be because of cognitive declines, such as from Alzheimer’s. This loss of independence can be frustrating and may lead to a sense of isolation or worsening depression. However, this does not need to happen. Steps can be taken to help seniors retain their independence, freedom, and dignity. In fact, one of the most critical steps to achieving that is hiring a professional caregiver.
How Caregivers Help Seniors Keep Their Independence
At Passion to Care, our professional caregivers strive to help seniors keep their independence. Caregivers are there to foster autonomy and step in to help with tasks that may be too complicated or frustrating for the older client. Even when caregivers step in, they always prioritize respect, respecting the client’s autonomy and decision-making.
Thriving Not Merely Surviving
At the heart of any successful caregiver-client relationship is a focus on the right values and goals. In the case of seniors, it is essential to underscore that the goal is not surviving. Instead, the goal is thriving. The caregiver should be focused on ensuring that the client is happy and satisfied with their day-to-day life. If there is dissatisfaction, then the caregiver should actively look for ways to minimize this frustration. This requires that caregivers be extremely attuned to their client and his/her unique personality so that they can identify subtle hints or changes in behavior. Once these changes are identified, then steps can be taken.
Maintaining a Sense of Control and Independence
Part of thriving is maintaining a sense of independence. Often, older adults feel that as they age, they lose control over their bodies and their lives. This feeling of loss can set up a dangerous downhill slide in a person’s mental or physical well-being. Therefore, it is important for the caregiver to work with the client to find tasks where he/she can still maintain control and independence. This balancing act is commonly referred to as interactive caregiving.
What Is Interactive Caregiving?
As the name suggests, interactive caregiving involves conversations and interactions between the caregiver and the client. Together, the caregiver and the client will be able to determine what help can be offered to make a task more comfortable to do while still allowing the older adult to actively participate in the task. For example, meal preparation may be challenging for many older adults for a variety of reasons. When these older adults struggle with food preparation, it may impact their nutrition, leaving them vulnerable to a host of medical problems.
In the interactive caregiving paradigm, the caregiver and the client may work together to prepare a meal with the caregiver designating tasks to the older adult that meets their capability levels. In the end, a lovely meal will have been prepared to help instill confidence and independence in the older adult.
What Does Independence Mean?
Independence may mean different things to different older adults. For some, independence may mean still being able to drive a car so that they can grocery shop and make their own way to doctor’s appointments. For others, independence may mean still being able to do their favorite hobbies, such as play golf. But, for others, independence means being able to stay in their family home for as long as possible. For the latter, professional caregivers may be essential in transforming this goal into reality.
How Caregivers Help Foster Independence
There are numerous tasks that professional caregivers can help an older adult with. Some professional caregivers may assist mobility-limited individuals with personal hygiene tasks, such as showering. Slips and falls in the bathroom can account for many unnecessary visits by older adults to their emergency rooms. By reducing these slips and falls with appropriate assistance, caregivers can help keep people safer. Caregivers may also help with meal preparation, as noted above. This can help ensure that older adults continue to eat healthy and well-balanced meals that give them the necessary nutrients for sound minds and bodies. Caregivers can also help with household cleaning that can be very difficult for many older adults. Another invaluable task that caregivers can assist with is making sure that older adults take their medications as prescribed by their doctors.
Help with any or all of these tasks is likely to help an older American remain in their home and age in place longer, achieving independence for them.
What Should You Do?
Watching an older loved one struggle as they age can be an emotionally complex situation for family members, as they try to balance people’s wishes versus safety and other considerations. But, families do not have to go through this process alone. If you notice that your loved one is having challenges with various household tasks or even if they simply seem to be lonely and in need of companionship, contact a home health care agency for a consultation.
Contact Passion to Care
Our team has years of experience and an extensive client list of satisfied individuals and families. We can provide you with information about a wide range of tasks that our dedicated caregivers can assist with, some of which were outlined above. In addition, our services do not stop with a simple list of tasks. As an organization, we pride ourselves in building collaboration between our caregivers and our clients, and this collaboration creates a wonderful home situation for your loved one as they navigate the process of aging.
In this collaboration, we always center our clients’ wishes and help our clients maintain their dignity and independence, while also focusing on safety. Our goal is homemaking, making our client’s homes the way that they want to age in place. Contact Passion to Care to learn more about how we can assist with keeping your aging loved one independent.