It is easy to get caught up in the daily tasks of caregiving for a senior you love. There is a great deal to be done, and sometimes it is just simpler and much more efficient to do it all yourself, letting a senior loved one relax. After all, our elders have taken care of things for a lifetime; haven’t they earned a break?
The reality, however, is that retaining independence and dignity in aging is exceptionally vital to our wellbeing, something that comes from having a feeling of meaning and purpose in life. And even while ensuring safety is, without a doubt, paramount, there are ways to empower a senior in your care to remain in control whenever possible. For instance:
- Work together on projects. While standing at the sink and scouring pots and pans may be unsafe or difficult for an older adult, perhaps he or she can sit at the table and dry them. The senior may not be in a position to bake a meal from start to finish but can mix ingredients as you reminisce about recipes made through the years. It could take a little thought, but it’s worthwhile to identify methods to alter tasks to incorporate the older adult’s assistance as much as possible.
- Allow for decision-making. Seek out opportunities to ask for the senior’s advice, allowing her or him to remain in control. Instead of assuming he or she will want a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, for instance, ask. Before automatically accompanying the senior into the doctor’s office for an exam, ask if he or she would like you there. Having a say in even the most basic decisions helps make a significant difference in self-esteem.
- Ensure safety with respect. Safety is, of course, extremely important, but there are ways to ensure an older adult remains safe without overstepping boundaries. Medical alert systems, for instance, are an excellent strategy to promote independence in seniors while providing them with the means to call easily for help when needed.
- Hire professional in-home caregivers. Some older adults resist the idea of their adult children helping them with personal care needs, such as taking a bath or using the toilet. A professional in-home caregiver, who is highly trained and experienced in helping seniors maintain dignity while staying safe, can be a more agreeable solution.
Connect with the aging care team at JFS Care, the Jewish Family Home Care division of Jewish Family Services, to learn more about our trusted in-home care services, always provided with the respect and attention to dignity older adults deserve. We are available for as little as a few hours every week up through and including 24/7 care. Contact us at 213-383-2273 today!