It can be very difficult to watch our loved ones get older and less agile. It’s tempting to lose our patience and try to do certain tasks for them rather than watch them struggle.
But, as tempting as it may be, it is important that they still feel independent and worthy. Let your loved ones age with grace and feel empowered for as long as possible.
Empowering Your Seniors
Once certain tasks that used to be second nature become difficult, many people give up trying. While it’s perfectly natural that some aspects of daily life will be more challenging, there is still plenty they can do.
Make Tasks Easier
There are plenty of small adjustments that can be made to help your loved one function as well as they used to. Take note of the things they struggle with and help them find a way to make it easier.
This could be to replace buttons with zippers or velcro, change the grips on drawers or cupboards, and easy-to-read clocks and calendars. Any small task they may be struggling with can be made easier.
Adjust at Home
There are many adjustments that can be made at home to make life easier. A walk-in shower or tub, a ramp or chair lift to get in the home or to the next floor, and clearing obstacles out of the way.
There are many home improvements you can help them with that won’t cost the earth but will still allow them the independence they have always had and allow them to keep living in their own home.
Let Them Make Decisions
Don’t make decisions for your loved ones. Even if they are not sure what is best, allow them the choice to make a decision first. This doesn’t need to be life-changing decisions but whether or not they want to go someplace or what they want for lunch.
This gives them a sense of control in their lives, so try to adhere to what they want. Obviously, safety comes first, but allow them the option to say yes or no. It will make them feel like their opinion matters.
Socializing with friends and family can go a long way to keeping them feeling independent and needed. Even if they just meet for a coffee or attend a seniors’ club it keeps them more in tune with what’s going on.
Try to plan a weekly event when they go play cards, see a movie or just have a social call. Certain events and activities can help keep their minds sharp and keep their dexterity skills honed. Playing cards, bingo, or arts and crafts are a great way to stay social and busy.
Choose Your Words Carefully
It can be very frustrating to watch your loved one struggle, but it is vital that you don’t say anything that will discourage them. Praise them for getting the task done and avoid words that will hurt.
Don’t jump in and do it for them or tell them they are useless, old, or feeble. It is a good time to take note of what is challenging for them and find ways to make it easier without chastising them.
Don’t Take it All On Yourself
It’s okay for you to ask for help. You should educate yourself before it becomes too much. Take a class or get expert advice on how to keep your older loved one feeling empowered.
Get help in the way of sharing the workload with other family members or professional help. It can be too overbearing to try and take care of your loved one, yourself, and your family.
Consider an emergency system. A medical alert system that your loved one can have will give you and them a great deal of peace of mind. A medical alert system will also help give you peace of mind knowing that your loved one has help right at the press of a button.
Don’t wait until it is all too late. Start getting things in place as soon as you notice that your loved one is struggling. Be sure to ask them what they need or want help with first, before you just start getting things in motion.