When providing support and assistance for seniors, whether you are a family member or a caregiver, it can be challenging to find the right balance between offering enough support and encouraging an independent lifestyle. Many older adults report retaining independence as a very important aspect of aging at home.
Maintaining a home comes with responsibilities that can become more difficult to stay on top of as we get older. Offering the right of support can help provide the confidence and the ability to keep up with regular routines. The main goal is to help improve health and the quality of daily life. Doing things together is a great way to achieve a good balance, being there if you are needed but not being over-assertive. There can sometimes be a fine a line between doing things for your elderly loved one, and doing things with them.
Yes, maybe you would get things done faster if you did it all yourself, but that is defeating the purpose of the exercise, which is promoting autonomy and as much self-sufficiency as possible. Everything tends to slow down a bit with age, including our minds and bodies. Strength and mobility begin to decline as well as cognitive abilities and memory. So, although it may take a little longer, it is recommended to encourage seniors to stay physically, socially, and mentally active.
Interactive caregiving offers a holistic approach to senior care, by encompassing physical, emotional, and mental health practices into interactive activities. Keeping seniors joyful and engaged helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, by improving overall moods and self-confidence. Home care assistance is about more than just helping with household chores, it involves getting to know the individual’s interests and incorporating them into healthy activities.
Total Interactive Approach
When deciding on beneficial activities to engage in, a good way to make sure they will be enjoyed is discussing the kinds of things might be fun to do together. The most advantageous activities will be ones that integrate physical, emotional, and mental stimulation.
Regular physical exercise is essential for overall health. Without a good level of physical condition, an independent lifestyle becomes a real challenge. Even something as simple as taking a walk to the local park can offer the benefits loosening up stiff joints, getting some fresh air, improving circulation, and social interaction. Other excellent low impact activities to try out with seniors may be yoga, tai chi, gardening, swimming, or dancing.
Emotional health depends largely on getting regular social interaction that is engaging and not stressful. Socializing is critical for cognitive health, and can reduce the risk of depression and social isolation. The very act of communication helps keep the brain active and sharp to prevent cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Good social activities could be sharing a meal together, board or card games, or checking out some local community events.
Social interaction is one good way to keep the mind engaged, but there are many other fun and helpful activities to choose from to the stimulate the brain. Learning something new can be one of the best things you can do for your brain. This can involve learning a new language, new technology, or a new game. Any activity that encourages creativity can be healthy and fun. Other mentally stimulating activities may be puzzles, arts & crafts, card and board games, listening to music, and reading.
Aside from promoting healthy physical, social, and mental activities, there are other things that can also be done to help improve the capacity for independence.
Useful tips include:
- Make a schedule
- Improving home safety
- Reduce Stress
Make a Schedule
Even if it is just to get things started, making a practical schedule for getting things done is a good way to help make sure it happens. One a healthy routine is established, it gets easier to maintain as confidence and capability build.
Improving Home Safety
Optimizing the home for safety and security is excellent for providing peace of mind, reducing the risk of accidents and injury. Clearing away excess clutter and mess can help reduce trip hazards while offering a healthier living space. It may also be helpful to install extra hand-rails and grip bars. Using a safety alert system for emergencies is also beneficial.
Stress is a major detriment to health and should be avoided in all ways possible. Meditation and breathing exercises are a great way to alleviate stress and anxiety. A healthy approach is to take things slow and put the focus on what can be done, rather than what can’t.