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3 Major Ways Caregivers Can Help Seniors Stay Independent

posted Feb 2, 2018, 9:34 AM by Wayne Wieseler   [ updated Feb 2, 2018, 9:35 AM ]
February 1, 2018

As an adult, you are used to having the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. It may be difficult for you to imagine not being able to do those things. Yet, for many seniors, this is a reality. With National Senior Independence Day being February, we are going to take a moment to recognize not only the importance of senior independence but also how caregivers can help seniors maintain their independence for as long as possible.

With age comes a variety of changes that can challenge a senior’s physical and physiological state; some making it increasingly difficult for seniors to properly care for themselves. Because of this, many older adults are pressured to move into an assisted living facility. As a direct result, many seniors are hesitant to ask for help, even when they know they should, for fear they will be forced to live in an assisted living home. This is a huge mistake.

Failing to ask for help when you know you need it can backfire and can cost you your independence entirely. In fact, the best thing you can do to secure your independence is to learn how and when to ask for help.

How Home Care Can Help

Let’s clarify – an assisted living facility may be best for you if you need more help than you can receive from home care. But if you just need a little extra help around the house, non-medical home care is likely the best option for you and can really help facilitate your independence.

Here are a few common threats to a senior’s independence, as well as some information on how having a caregiver a few times a week can help.

#1: Failing to meet your nutritional requirements.

Getting adequate nutrition is crucial for seniors to remain independent. Seniors who meet their requirements typically report better mental acuity, stronger immune systems, higher energy levels and have an easier time managing chronic illnesses. Failure to do so can threaten health, mobility, and as a result, independence.

Unfortunately, many older adults experience challenges that make it difficult for them to get the nutrition they need. For example, seniors who are unable to drive may have a difficult time coordinating trips to and from the grocery store, while other seniors may struggle to prepare fresh meals on a regular basis. As a result, many seniors consume more processed foods due to their longer shelf life.

Home care services can help seniors by eliminating many of the challenges seniors face that prevent them from meeting their nutritional requirements, including the following.

  • Driving seniors to and from the grocery store.
  • Helping seniors navigate the grocery store (i.e. getting hard-to-reach items and carrying groceries back to their home)
  • Preparing fresh meals.
  • Throwing away old/expired meals.

#2: Neglecting to exercise.

Many seniors refrain from exercise because they think it’s unsafe. Studies have shown the contrary; seniors who refrain from exercise are usually more at risk of losing their independence.

Exercise is crucial for seniors to maintain their bone density and circulation. When bone density is lost, seniors are at a much greater risk of experiencing more serious injuries. Exercise can be the difference between a minor fracture and a broken bone.

In-home caregivers can help ensure seniors get enough exercise in the following ways.

  • Encouraging seniors make the effort to exercise.
  • Making sure seniors are doing the right exercises for their personal needs and capabilities.
  • Reducing the likelihood of injuries by providing assistance when needed (i.e. support while walking, ending exercise when needed)

#3: Forgetting to take medications.

As your age increases, the number of medications you are prescribed is also likely to increase. As a result, older adults are often faced with the challenge of managing multiple medications. It can be easy to confuse medications and miss doses. Unfortunately, doing this can be detrimental to a senior.

Caregivers can be extremely helpful to seniors who have trouble remembering to take their medications in the following ways.

  • Reminding seniors to take their medication at the appropriate time.
  • Ensuring seniors are consistent with their medication.

Conclusion

Aging is inevitable, bringing to light many of the associated challenges is the first step to ensuring aging doesn’t equate to a loss of independence. If you think you or a loved one may benefit from an in-home caregiver, don’t hesitate to contact us.