I’ve written a lot lately about how best to care for our loved ones in their later years. We all know that old age brings with it great wisdom and experience, but it can also encroach on people’s much-valued independence.
Below are some great tips for helping your loved ones to remain independent in their senior years.
How to help the elderly to remain independent
Encourage older people to stay socially connected
As social beings, it’s important to stay socially engaged to help avoid isolation, and this rings especially true for those in their advanced years. Building and maintaining relationships is important for mental wellbeing and has also been shown to aid physical wellbeing.
There are some easy ways to encourage older people to stay social. For example, introducing a hobby such as yoga is a sociable way to stay fit or keeping in touch via FaceTime is more interesting than a simple phone call. Attending classes means your loved one will quickly make friends and have a routine social engagement. Alternatively, volunteering in local charity shops can be a great way for relatives to socialise with people from all walks of life.
Getting out and about for everyday tasks
Whilst internet shopping can put your mind at ease when considering older relatives during the cold and icy winter months, wherever possible it’s best to encourage your loved ones to get out and about.Popping to the shops for a pint of milk, going on the hunt for a family birthday present or dropping into the bank, going to the shops is an important part of staying active.
Completing such tasks can be a challenge for those who struggle with mobility so it can be a good idea to recommend a mobility scooter. These can be a good solution to reduce strain and ensure users get to their destination comfortably.
Support your elders in adapting their home
As people grow older their home needs to adapt to ensure it remains safe and accessible. Indeed, one thing you will often hear older people say is that they don’t want to move into a care home and independence can be prolonged with clever technology and living solutions. For example, specialised adjustable beds, jar openers and big button telephones can do wonders for keeping people independent in their own home.
Staying fit and keeping minds active
Physical and mental agility is crucial to staying independent and there are lots of ways to keep the mind and body fit as older people age. Whether it’s a daily Sudoku or watching Countdown with your loved ones, all these mind gym activities help to keep the brain sharp. Exercise classes for older people can be found at most town halls or local gyms to stay active.
Be mindful when offering support
Providing assistance for older people comes naturally to carers but it’s important to frame the offer in the right way. Whether it’s helping older people navigate the internet or offering support with physical tasks, there are lots of ways you can make a difference to someone’s life. However, it can be tough for elderly people to accept help after years of independence.
When offering assistance avoid dictating and frame the support in a positive way. For example, if you are concerned about an elderly relative driving a car, maybe suggest they invest in a mobility scooter that is road legal. This will ensure they keep their independence and remain safe.