Supporting an Elderly Relative to Maintain Independence: 5 Suggestions

Our parents spend a lot of their lives supporting and nurturing us. If we’re fortunate enough to see our parents live to old age, we may have to think about taking care of them.

Whenever anyone ages, their needs change. Most people need more physical care. Unfortunately, the extra care your relative needs may affect their independence.

Here’s how you can help your elderly parent or relative to maintain independence for as long as possible:

Encourage Your Relative to Make Important Decisions

One of the best ways for you to help your relative to stay independent is to help encourage them to make decisions. Never make decisions without including them. Give your relative as much control as you can.

Think about how you would feel if someone took control of your life. You wouldn’t feel good about it.

No matter what decisions need to be made, include your elderly relative in the process.

Include them when making decisions about:

  • Where they’re going to live
  • What type of house they want to live in
  • What medical alert devices will be installed in their home
  • How often they’re going to see you
  • What meals they want to eat
  • How often they want to see their friends
  • What they want to wear each day

When someone has a lot of control over their life, they feel happier. Just make sure that your relative is safe enough to make decisions. Be sure to support your relative in their decision making and do what you can to help the decision come into fruition.

Allow Your Elderly Relative To Help Themselves

You might be tempted to do as much as possible for your elderly relative. However, this could be a mistake.

When you prevent someone from taking care of themselves they can feel helpless.

Involve your elderly relative in as many everyday tasks as possible. They could, for example, help you with the laundry, ask them to prepare a meal, or put on their coat.

While this may not seem like a lot, it can make a difference. Many elderly people feel better when they can do something for themselves.

Help Your Relative to be Safe in Their Own Home

As most people age, they may be wondering if they’ll manage to stay in their own homes. If it is safe for your relative to stay in their own home, try to help them achieve this.

You could help them by adapting their bathroom and removing trip hazards around the home.

You may also want to:

  • Offer to do your elderly relative’s shopping
  • Take them out to see their friends
  • Attend a few public events with them
  • Spend time making their garden nice and tidy

When you make sure that your relative is safe in their home they can maintain their independence. Helping them to also meet their social needs and the needs of their garden can also work wonders.

Encourage Your Elderly Relative to Stay Active

The more active someone is, the better their physical and mental health is likely to be. Try to encourage your relative to stay active.

Some people have exercises that their physical therapists have asked them to do. Others may attend fitness classes once or twice a week.

Perhaps your elderly relative likes to go for walks or a swim.

No matter what your relative likes to do, try to encourage them to stay active.

Help Your Relative to Keep Their Mind Sharp

As we age, it becomes more important than ever to keep our minds sharp. Keeping our brains active can help to slow down the onset of a range of conditions.

Help your relative to keep their mind sharp by encouraging them to do a crossword or puzzle, watch a quiz show, go to murder mystery events, etc.

The idea of supporting an elderly relative may seem quite daunting. However, everyone needs a different level of care. Some people may need 24-hour care, others may only need someone to help them with their groceries.

No matter how much care your elderly relative needs, knowing that you’re there can be a great help. Remember to ask for help if you begin to struggle to look after your relative. There are organizations out there that can do the hard work for you.

In the meantime, use the above tips to help you take great care of your elderly relative.

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