Loss of Independence

There's a sobering moment that occurs when your mother or father takes a fall for the first time.

It's the  realization you are about to embark on trying to convince them that making modifications to their living arrangements will in fact, be beneficial to them. You worry that introducing them to ideas that can help reduce the risk of a fall may actually ‘trigger’ them into feelings of helplessness.  In your mind, that recommendation of a walker, bathroom grab bar, or not having area rugs as decorations really isn’t that big of a deal.  You know that your parent needs help.  So, what can you do? The first step is to try to gain perspective and a true understanding of what your loved one is going through.

 

For many seniors, one of the most devastating parts of growing older is facing a loss of independence. One survey found that more seniors fear losing their independence than actually dying.  Losing the ability to do daily tasks like bathing and cooking independently can cause sadness, despair, anger, worry, shame and embarrassment. They have been the providers and care takers for many years, and now to see these roles and responsibilities being removed can be another life altering experience. The roles being shifted to the very family members they used to support, can be a very humbling and difficult experience.   

 

So, why is the loss of independence so devastating for seniors?  Part of it has to do with our cultural values.  In the United States, independence is a primary value that begins in our teen years, with learning to drive a car.  The sense of independence from that simple milestone is something that resonates with all of us. Getting our first job and eventually moving out are subsequent milestones that are accomplished as we acquire more independence.  As we begin to age, the milestones that are being hit are in fact the removal of those very independent activities from our daily life.  Coming face-to- face with these losses that are so integral to our identity, can produce grief, as well as other difficult emotions.

 

How Can Family Members Help?

What can you do to get your loved one help? It’s important to know that more than 95 percent of people aged 65 and above want to remain at home as they age.  Having this knowledge and maintaining open communication is a key factor.  Having honest conversations about the struggles they face and understanding their hesitation is key.  By acknowledging their struggles, you may be able to come to an agreement that can include easing some help into their daily routine. Your loved one may need help with things like getting to and from appointments, preparing meals, and taking medications.   If you or another family member is able to help them meal prep for the week, or sort their medications, and maybe take them to a Dr.’s appointment now and then, this can help ease the transition process. Making it fun and re-engaging with them also helps them erase the myth that just because they are unable to do one task, they are on a one way street to an assisted living facility.  Communicating to them that as long as they receive some degree of support they can remain in their home safely should help them become more comfortable with the idea of accepting help.  Even with early signs of dementia or other cognitive challenges, remaining in their own home can still be an option. 

 

If you are unable to be actively involved in the daily activities, you can consider in-home care. 

 

In-home care can help your loved one age safely in place at home. It can also provide you with peace -of –mind knowing that your loved one has the help that they need.  ACASA Senior Care provides services like:

  • Medication reminders
  • Transportation to appointments
  • Dressing and grooming assistance
  • Light housekeeping
  • Cooking and meal preparation
  • Toileting
  • Respite care

 

We provide Alzheimer’s and Dementia care at home, as well as hospice care.  In-home care is ideal for seniors who want to remain at home – and, it’s ideal for family members too.  You’ll rest assured knowing that your loved one is getting the help that they need.  Contact ACASA Senior Care for more information.

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