Seniors Coping with Loss of Independence pt 2

How can you help your elderly parents cope with loss of independence? Or, to put it another way, how to cope with increasing “dependency”?

Relying on other people for assistance with basic tasks like bathing or common activities like driving can be frightening and frustrating for seniors. With the loss of independence, elders also tend to lose some control over their schedule, freedom, preferences, and more.

Home care staff can help make decreased independence more bearable using strategies like these:

— Offer reminders, and showcase behavior, that you can be counted on: Depending on other people for help, especially with essential tasks, requires trust. This can cause seniors anxiety and stress. Remind a nervous senior that he or she is in good hands and is being taken care of to lessen their fears.

— Maintain a standard of conduct and dignity: Requiring assistance with activities like bathing or shopping does not mean that seniors need to give up their dignity. Caregivers should always guard seniors’ privacy.

— Use communication for participation, not for barking orders: In other words, “ask instead of telling.” Caregiving for someone who has lost a type of independence is a supportive role. Caregivers should ask seniors about their preferences, needs, etc., instead of telling them. For example, if elderly parents cannot cook for themselves, a caregiver should ask for input on meal planning.

— Give options for caregiving: Since dependence requires trust and can be very personal in nature, it is important for seniors to have choices. Learn if a senior prefers same-sex caregivers, certain routines, etc.

— Be consistent, and organized: Dependence means a loss of control. Elderly have to wait on others for assistance, which can be stressful. Caregivers should remain consistent in their routine so that seniors don’t need to be anxious about when or how their care will be provided. Organize necessary materials so they are accessible to seniors who cannot mobilize.

JD Miller

About JD Miller

John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. Phone: (781) 378-2164 Email: [email protected] Website:

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