From a very young age, we say things like, “I can do it myself.” As we age we begin to lose some of our independence. Your independence matters and senior independence matters, too.
If you are anything like me, the idea of losing your independence is scary. I remember the feeling I had on my first airplane ride, knowing I was completely dependent on others to get me to where I wanted to go. What seniors often face is not something with a deadline for this independence to return, rather a category they will likely be in for the rest of their life. This may sound depressing and certainly can be at first. According to AARP, 57% of seniors over age 70 do not find it easy to live alone and need assistance with tasks. Some examples included:
- Ability to drive
- Decreased energy
Below, we will explore a few strategies to transition and live their best life. Remember, aging in place can be hard, but it’s not without hope.
Coping with Losing Independence
- Dignity – This is something we all have and want to maintain. Privacy should be guarded as much as possible. Please remember, having to have someone help you bathe is a big deal.
- Choices – Whether we are talking about our children, ourselves, or those seniors in our community, choices matter. This can be a very effective way of communicating independence through daily living activities and providing multiple options when decisions must be made.
- Ask – When someone asks a question, it is typically well received. When someone is only telling, it is not. Use questions instead of demands when talking.
- Organized – If mobility is lost, the need for things organized and within reach goes up. Ensure these things, regardless of how important they are to you, are kept organized and accessible.
These are just a few ideas for how to help a senior in your life age in place well. This could involve the help of a sitter, personal assistant, or simply a family member. Losing independence is scary, but if you know what to expect and have ways to address it, this feeling can be minimized. Because remember, senior independence matters!