An increasing number of baby boomers and older seniors are choosing to remain at home during their elder years, even in the face of injury, illness and ongoing conditions. For their adult children, caring for an aging parent can present physical, emotional and social challenges, as they become more and more involved in the day-to-day tasks needed to care for mom or dad.
It’s easy to get caught up in the role of a caregiver when this situation arises. After all, your parents did so much for you during your upbringing, it's only natural to want to care for an aging parent now that they need help. However, it’s also important to remember that for the majority of seniors, maintaining independence is a key factor in their decision to stay at home. While your efforts may be well meaning, it can sometimes be a slippery slope—it’s easy to go from helping out here and there to doing everything for that parent as they become more and more dependent on your help. But often this well-meaning hands-on caregiving can have an adverse effect on elderly parents maintaining self-sufficiency and overall day-to-day freedom. As a family caregiver, you should strive to promote the independence of your loved one, not take over everything.
Why is promoting independence in seniors so important?
Independence enables aging family members to continue making contributions to society, and feel good about that influence
Self-sufficiency gives seniors a sense of achievement and self-worth, critical during their later years
Being able to tackle some tasks independently promotes future self-reliance—if they can do this, they can probably handle that!
Independence fights frustration and feelings of futility, even in the wake of illness, injury and general aging.
In these situations it’s important to put yourself in your aging parent’s shoes. How would you feel if there were things you could do, but weren't allowed to (or didn't have to) because someone else had taken over? Allowing your loved ones to do things for themselves provides a sense of purpose and can make them feel self-assured. Bringing in professional assistance from a home care agency such as ours can also increase the parent’s feeling of empowerment and pride in maintaining their ability to function successfully at home.
AAging Better provides an extensive variety of in-home services to seniors or disabled individuals in the greater Coeur d'Alene and greater Sandpoint areas, ranging from help with meals, transportation or light housekeeping to skilled nursing care around the clock. If you think you or your loved one might benefit from our expertise, an experienced team of nurses and caregivers can provide the care your loved one needs to stay safely and effectively at home.
A free in-home assessment is conducted by one or our RNs to devise a plan of care that fits with you and your loved one’s needs. Many times, through this outside intervention, both elderly parents and their adult children can learn to work better together to foster self-reliance, independence and a better overall quality of life. Contact us today to learn more.