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5 Reasons to Motivate Older Adults to Be Independent

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The meaning of the word “independence” shifts over the course of a life span. For a teenager, it might mean driving the family car without adult supervision. For an adult, it might mean having the financial means to buy a home or start a family. For seniors, the meaning of “independence” may be restricted by health limitations. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t maintain a degree of autonomy, and caregivers should encourage senior self-reliance whenever possible. 

1. Promotes Emotional Wellbeing

Independence often goes hand in hand with emotional wellbeing. When seniors no longer feel like they’re in control of their own lives, it can damage their emotional health. If your aging loved one seems depressed about his or her lack of agency, search for decision-making opportunities. Even small decisions, like what kind of pasta he or she wants for dinner, could give your loved one a feeling of control. 

Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Palm Desert seniors can depend on.

2. Boosts Self-Esteem

Sometimes seniors can no longer perform tasks they once took great pride in, and they may have to rely on others to meet these needs. For example, if Parkinson’s has hindered an experienced chef’s ability to cook, it can diminish self-esteem. For some seniors, these limitations can lead to depression or anxiety. To encourage independence, help your loved one find new ways to experience favorite activities. A chef with Parkinson’s may not have the motor coordination to chop vegetables, but this doesn’t mean he or she has to stop cooking. He or she may enjoy guiding the grandkids through favorite cookie recipes. 

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Palm Desert Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

3. Provides a Sense of Purpose

When seniors become too dependent on their caregivers, they stop feeling like productive members of society. If they have no tasks to complete or jobs to do, they may start to feel useless. When caring for a loved one who once thrived on productivity, give him or her something to do. Find an appropriate volunteer position, or help him or her learn a new hobby. If seniors feel they have a purpose, it can diminish feelings of dependence. 

4. Allows the Opportunity to Accomplish Basic Tasks

When caregivers see seniors having difficulty with a simple task such as tying their shoelaces or zipping up their jacket, they often want to step in to help immediately. In some situations, seniors can perform these tasks if given a few more minutes. While accomplishing the task would only be a small victory, it would be a victory nonetheless. Let your loved one have these small victories, as they could provide a sense of accomplishment. 

5. Increases Socialization

When seniors no longer have access to transportation, it can have a big impact on their social lives. Older adults can no longer hop in the car to play a game of bridge with their friends, and without transportation they can become isolated, which has consequences. When seniors don’t interact with friends and family, they often neglect their physical appearance, ignore hygiene habits, and forget to eat. To encourage independence, give your loved one the means to contact people whenever he or she wants. Equip your loved one with a cell phone or tablet, and teach him or her how to use modern technology, ranging from video chat apps like Skype and FaceTime to standard communication methods like email and text.

Many older adults prefer living at home in their senior years. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care. Palm Desert families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties. Call one of our Care Managers at (760) 345-0001 to schedule a free in-home consultation today.