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8 Strategies for Balancing Support and Independence for Seniors

Your elderly loved one will go through significant life changes when they start to receive in-home care and support. They’ll still want to be independent, and many don’t enjoy relying on others to do specific tasks.

This attitude is perfectly natural. After all, your parents have been doing tasks such as housekeeping, laundry, and meal prep independently long before you were born. It can be challenging for them to accept that they now need help performing these simple activities.

However, there are various strategies you can employ to help your older loved ones be as independent as possible while still getting the care they need. Here are eight ways to accomplish this:

1. Help them continue with hobbies and social activities

Encourage your older loved ones to maintain their hobbies and participate in social activities. Whether it’s a book club, games night, or movie club, seeing friends and continuing to interact with other people will keep your loved one active and ensure their mind is continuing to be exercised. The aim is also to give them a sense that their life will continue as before and that in-home care won’t change the comfort they’re used to.

2. Allow them to take part in day-to-day chores

One of the big mistakes you can make when caring for an older loved one is to assume that they can’t do some tasks. This can have the opposite effect, as they can feel left out and a burden to other family members and caregivers. Be sure to identify their capabilities and allow them to partake in household chores, such as washing dishes and doing laundry, giving them a sense of normalcy.

3. Provide comfortable, accessible clothing

Getting dressed is an intimate and integral part of our day. Your loved ones might not have the same mobility as they had before. Provide clothing that’s easy to get into and comfortable. This allows them to get dressed independently and gives them a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning. Also, where the clothes are stored is essential as they might not be able to reach top shelves or open heavy closet doors. To solve this potential issue, you can put their clothes in accessible locations in the bedroom that they can find on their own.

4. Install support equipment at home

As your loved one gets older and their need for support increases, start thinking about household equipment that can help them continue to live independently at home. Recommended support equipment includes handles in bathrooms to ensure they don’t slip and railings to help them climb stairs. If the house has a large outdoor front staircase, consider installing a ramp or a walking frame if they have mobility or balance issues.

5. Allow them to make their own choices

It’s crucial to allow your older relative to continue to make their own choices while they still have the ability to do so. Making decisions on their behalf, especially without consulting them first, can cause frustration on behalf of your loved one and affect their happiness and quality of life. Allow them to make their own choices to preserve their sense of control over their lives while still getting support from caregivers.

6. Encourage physical and mental exercise

Exercise is key to helping your loved one stay physically, mentally, and emotionally fit and healthy as possible. There are plenty of exercise groups for older people that you can take advantage of. These ensure that your loved one stays active, and it’s also a great place to meet people and make friends. Mental exercises, such as puzzles and board games, are also great for mental stimulation.

7. Ensure their home is safe

Safety in the home is essential to older adults staying active. To minimize the risk of falls, search the home for potential hazards that can be removed. It can be easy to forget a pair of shoes on the floor, garden tools in the backyard, extension cords in walking areas, and other items that present falling risks. Ensure that items are put away to keep walkways clear and safe.

8. Be in communication and know when to help

You should also make sure you engage with your loved one as you would with anyone else. Ask for their opinion on various issues and treat them as you always have to help them feel included in your day-to-day life. Building open, transparent communication between yourselves and the caregiver is also essential for identifying things your older loved one can’t do and needs help with. Often, older people can feel embarrassed and won’t ask for help, so ensure you’re in a position to identify these situations and provide or ask the caregiver to offer aid accordingly.

It’s important to remember that your older loved one might not feel old, so the need to have extra support might be uncomfortable for them at first. Implementing these strategies will help them ease into the process and realize that they can continue having independence while receiving the care they need.

In-home elder care in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton

When it’s time to seek empathetic, respectful in-home elder care for a beloved family member in Etobicoke, Mississauga, or Brampton, get in touch with CareHop. Our team specializes in ensuring that all of your loved one’s needs are met, including homemaking and meal preparation, personal care, activities and casual companionship, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care, and much more.

Our team focuses on what’s most important to your family, and our care plans are tailored to your loved one’s needs. CareHop’s goal is to bring joy and sunshine into your loved one’s home and ensure that they are happy, thriving, and cared for at all times.

For more information about our eldercare services, please feel free to contact us anytime. We’d love to discuss how our approach to quality elder care can make a positive difference in the lives of your elderly loved one and family

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop. He started the business inspired by his Grandmother to look at ageing as a happy experience to bring sunshine into the homes of others.

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