The Art of Balancing Providing Help with Maintaining Senior Independence

Help preserve senior independence with these tips.

“Here, I can help you with that.”

“Be careful!”

“You can just sit here and rest; I’ll handle that.”

How often have we said things along the lines of these to seniors, with the best intentions of course? We want to do everything we can when caring for older adults to ensure they are safe and to take care of them in the same way they took care of us when we were younger. Yet, there’s a concealed threat in trying to do too much for seniors and depriving them of the opportunity to do as much as possible for themselves – the danger of harming senior independence and a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

Take, for instance, an older gentleman who devoted his entire life to providing for his family, and just recently has been diagnosed with the initial stages of dementia. Given that he has always identified himself as a provider, becoming reliant on someone else to provide for him can be really tough and even feel demeaning. It’s crucial to help him uphold the sense of being needed by others, and there are a variety of tactics to achieve just that. Try these tips from Endeavor In-Home Care:

  • Obtain guidance. Being granted the opportunity to share insight and wisdom is a great boost to an older adult’s self-esteem, and there is definitely a lot we can learn from older adults. Come up with little ways through the day to ask the older person’s guidance on how to make a perfect batch of biscuits, how to stop the draft from coming in under the back door, how to soothe a cranky baby, etc.
  • Seek hands-on support. As in-home caregivers, it’s our responsibility to support older individuals with assorted needs, but we also understand the value of allowing seniors the opportunity to perform helpful responsibilities too. It doesn’t have to be a massive task to maintain the sense of being needed. Be aware of the senior’s cognitive and physical limitations, and request his/her help appropriately. For example, a senior who is in a wheelchair can sit at the table and help with cooking and baking related tasks, polish silverware, or sort nuts and bolts in a toolbox.
  • Vocally show your respect. While you may presume the older person knows how you feel, it’s a wonderful feeling to be told how much we mean to one another. Take time to mention particular ways the senior has aided you in some manner and how much you appreciate that help, from learning to drive a car, to parenting techniques, to the ability to draw or paint or carve wood. Be honest in your compliments, and say them frequently, from your heart.

A skilled in-home caregiver, such as those at Endeavor In-Home Care, is proficient in sustaining the delicate balance between caring for older adults and boosting their sense of purpose and meaning. Contact us to learn more about our home care and specialized Alzheimer’s care in Scottsdale and the surrounding areas. Request a complimentary in-home evaluation for your senior loved one today!