The most important — and troubling — effect of taking away a person’s independence is how it can impact their health and overall well-being. We expect Dad to be unhappy when we take away his keys and Mom to protest when we suggest an in-home caregiver, but it’s the longer-term implications of this difficult transition period that are the issue. A loss of independence can trigger a number of emotions like anger, fear, guilt, and depression. t’s important to recognize the depression cues in older adults before they become a more serious problem and, when possible, take steps to identify and avoid triggers like a loss of independence. As we get older, there are a number of factors that can lead to diminished independence — like bad falls, chronic pain, and nervous out of town relatives who only want the best for their older family members. But what we need to take into account is their feelings. Their fear of losing independence is real. Their loss of control easily can turn to anger and isolation — not wanting anyone to see how they are really doing in managing their lifecare, their health, their nutrition, their social activity.
While your aging parents may not be in a position to do everything on their own, you want to make sure they have as much independence as possible to keep them happy and healthy for as long as possible. Here are some ways to support their freedom:
Tech Solutions: technology can give your loved one independence while providing you with peace of mind. From enhanced emergency alert systems to medication monitoring to money management, seniors and those who care for them can benefit from a solution that meets the whole family’s needs.
Interactive Caregiving: If an older adult needs the help of caregiver, the type of care they receive can impact how independent they feel. Instead of a caregiver doing everything for their care recipient, they should do some things alongside their care recipient, whether that’s writing a grocery list, planting flowers, or taking a walk around the block. Interactive caregivers should also make an effort to engage seniors in their favorite activities and hobbies which can help aging adults maintain a sense of self.
NOT Staying Home: While staying in their own home is a goal for many seniors, in some cases (according to the New York Times) doing so can actually diminish independence. Being homebound, without the ability to engage with other people and live life as they used to, can be detrimental to these older adults. It’s important to consider whether doing everything to help a loved one stay at home is really best for their well-being.
It can be difficult to balance an older adult’s need for independence as they age with the desire to keep them safe and healthy. But when it’s understood that diminished independence can lead to emotional and physical problems, these two points of view can become more aligned.
We all remember growing up and wanting our independence. No matter how old we are, we still want to be able to decide when we go to bed, when we get up, where we go, what we do, when we eat, what we want to eat. At The Laurel Assisted Living and Memory Care residences at Norterre, The Household Model embraces independence and allows our household members to choose what they want to do. Each 20-person household allows them to be themselves, whether they want to read a book in a private sitting area or bake a batch of cookies in the full service kitchen. They can sit on the patio and enjoy the view, they can walk to The Aurora and enjoy the Bistro. What makes Norterre so different is that we embrace independence, we encourage it. We know how important it is to the health and well being for every resident. At Norterre, we make sure that living here is not a loss of independence, so that you and your loved one can rest assured that they are in a safe and secure environment that does not isolate them and encourages the freedom to live their life the way they want to live it. Norterre has everything you need in one place and everyone here treats everyone as extended family. Norterre is simply a change in address.