A loss of independence is one of the main fears many seniors have. When this fear becomes a reality, caregivers can greatly help.
AARP conducted a study in 2012 about senior independence. What they found is that almost 60% of seniors over age 70 do find it difficult and, in some cases, frightening, to live alone and need help with daily tasks. These concerns can take a toll on a senior’s psychological and physical well-being.
Most people begin to live and perform daily life tasks independently before the age of 21. About 50 years later, many find that independence is no longer an option for them to live safely. The loss of independence seniors face can often result in frustration, depression, and other emotional problems. Caregivers can help seniors by understanding the process and helping them recognize what they still can do instead of what they can no longer do.
As people age, there are a variety of ways that independence can be lost. Some types of independence seniors may lose include:
- Safe ambulation
- Ability to live alone
- Memory or cognitive issues
- Strength or energy to perform daily tasks
- Decreased social interaction
- Sight or hearing deficit
Relying on other people’s assistance for basic tasks like bathing or daily activities can make seniors feel like a burden to their families. With this loss of independence, seniors also tend to lose some control over their schedules, preferences, etc.
Caregivers can help make decreased independence more bearable. Depending on other people for help, especially with essential tasks, requires trust. This can cause seniors anxiety and stress. Non-family caregivers can help a nervous senior understand that he or she is in good hands, is being well cared for and the feeling of not being a burden to family can make someone feel more independent
Compassionate caregivers can help seniors remain consistent in their daily routines. Caregivers can extend independence especially for those who view dependence on family members as a tremendous imposition. Help from a qualified caregiver can eliminate the anxiety and other issues that come with the loss of independence.