Simple Tips to Promote Independence for Seniors

Simple Tips to Promote Independence for Seniors

Independence does not need to waiver as you get older. Older adults are at risk of becoming dependent on their caregiver to maintain their quality of life. As caregivers, it is our job to encourage seniors to do as much as they are capable of in order to promote their independence.

Why Should We Promote Independence?

We want to promote independence for our seniors for the following reasons:

1. It is stimulating for the older adult.

  • Independence breaks seniors out of their daily routine of having a caregiver come and care for them. It provides them the opportunity to engage with their caregiver and play a role in the care they receive.

2. It is demeaning to them for caregivers to assume that they cannot do anything for themselves for ‘x’ reason.

  • Just because an older adult may have an illness, impairment or disability does not mean they are unable to care for themselves, with assistance. The tasks they perform may need to be modified to make it easier for them to complete, but they should be able to do the bulk of the task independently.

3. It provides older adults with a sense of purpose.

  • Older adults often fall into a depression because they are unable to live their life the way they used to. By providing the senior with these small tasks, they feel as though they are in control of that aspect of their life.

Promoting vs Maintaining Independence

In order to promote independence for your senior, you first need to determine how independent they are already. Promotion of a person’s independence involves providing opportunities for them to exercise their independence. This means encouraging them to do things for themselves. Maintaining a person’s independence requires them to be independent already, and just requires the caregiver to provide tools to the senior so they can continue living as independently as possible.

What Can I Do to Promote Independence?

Interactive caregiving promotes mental, physical, social and emotional well-being. This is also considered to be a holistic approach to caregiving. The art of caregiving extends beyond task-oriented skills and includes engaging in activities that help maintain a healthy mind and body. When planning activities to engage in with your older adult, keep the elements of interactive caregiving in mind.

Research indicates that keeping seniors engaged mentally, physically, emotionally and socially enables them to enjoy a higher quality of life, retain better cognitive function, stay healthy and live independently for longer.

By caring for the whole person and not just their physical being, you are engaging in the holistic approach to caregiving. By tending to the ‘whole person’, you can promote independence for your loved one.

When assisting with tasks, try to involve the person you are caring for as much as possible, encouraging them to do all that they can safely manage. It is paramount to remain calm and patient, as it is unlikely they will be able to complete tasks at the same pace as you. When you give them time and space to complete their tasks, you are giving them the freedom to independence.

How Can Freiheit Help Promote Independence?

Have you ever heard of the saying ‘do with, not for’? That is the principle that we at Freiheit Care Inc. live up to. This principle is easily implemented when caregivers remember that there is a person in that bed, and that they are likely still capable of caring for themselves.

An example of doing with and not for can be when a loved one needs to be bathed. Our caregivers can encourage their senior to wash themselves as much as they can. This could include washing their face, washing their armpits, brushing their teeth or combing their hair.

Freiheit Care Inc. provides only premium quality care to help you or your loved one “Be Free to Live”. This means that we want to help you help yourself. We are strong believers in helping you or your loved ones be your/their best. Give us a call today at (613) 518-8258 and find out how our caregivers are qualified to promote the independence of yourself or your loved one.

Palliative Care

Palliative Care At Home

Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

One of the services offered by Freiheit Care Inc. is palliative care at home. Palliative care is the term that refers to the care given to individuals experiencing severe, life-limiting illness. Also known as ‘comfort measures’, palliative care aims to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care is not treating the illness, but treating the symptoms that the illness produces. For this reason, palliative care is sometimes offered in conjunction with treating the primary illness.

What Kind of Services are Provided?

• Medical care to facilitate pain and symptom management
• Personal support services (e.g. personal hygiene, dressing, toileting, assistance with light housekeeping)
• Psychological support, such as psychotherapy or bereavement services for the individual and family
• Physiotherapy, dietary planning, pharmacy support, social work & other family services
• Chaplains and other spiritual advisors

Who Can Get Palliative Care?

Anyone with a life-limiting illness qualifies for palliative care. They do not need to be at end-of-life to receive palliative care.

Individuals who may benefit from palliative care are:

• Those living with Cancer
• Individuals with Heart Disease
• Those with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
• Adults with Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease
• Individuals with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) & Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

What Does Palliative Care Include? (The following section is sourced from “What is Palliative Care?”)

Palliative care takes a holistic approach to addressing the many symptoms and complications to a persons’ life-limiting illness.

Physical Problems

Symptoms or side effects of disease may include:
• Pain
• Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
• Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
• Loss of appetite (anorexia)
• Nausea or vomiting
• Constipation or diarrhea

Treatments may include:
• Medications
• Nutritional support
• Integrative therapies (such as physical therapy, massage therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy [for difficulty swallowing])

Psychosocial Problems

• Fear
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Caregiver support
• Failure to Cope/Failure to Thrive

Support is also provided to families at this time, as they are also experiencing these psychosocial challenges

Treatments may include:
• Psychotherapy
• Family meetings
• Support groups

Practical Matters

• Legal matters
• Financial questions/concerns
• Housekeeping
• Child-care for other children in the family

Support may include:
• Meeting with a social worker
• Referral to a financial advisor/financial counsellor
• Homemaking services

Palliative Care Options

• In-hospital palliative care
• Hospice palliative care
In-home palliative care

How Can Freiheit Assist You?

At Freiheit Care Inc. we have trained staff who are dedicated to providing premium home care services, including palliative care at home. Our companions, personal support workers and nurses are all overseen by our Director of Nursing and are supported in the care they provide to you at home.

Freiheit Care Inc. will work with your physicians and primary care team to ensure we are providing you with the most relevant care. Our range of services offered ensures that we can provide you with the best care possible, at whatever point you are in your palliative efforts. Call us at (613) 518-8258 to speak with our Intake Specialist and RN to set up your in-home assessment, so we can assess your needs and plan the necessary care provisions accordingly.

Additional Resources

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral Palsy

What is cerebral palsy?

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders that affects muscle tone, posture and balance. It is the most common childhood disorder.

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), cerebral palsy affects 1 in 323 children.
It is more prevalent in boys than in girls.

There are three types of Cerebral Palsy:

• Spastic Cerebral Palsy: causes muscle stiffness and makes movement difficult
• Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy: causes uncontrollable movement
• Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: causes problems with balance and depth perception

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

The cause of cerebral palsy is not always known. However, there are some known causes that seem to be common in the diagnosis of cerebral palsy:

• Infections during pregnancy that affects the foetus’ neuro-development
• Stroke while in the womb or after birth
• Genetic disorders

Cerebral palsy can develop later in childhood due to childhood trauma, for example:

• Lead poisoning
• Bacterial meningitis
• Car accident resulting in traumatic brain injury
• Shaken baby syndrome resulting in traumatic brain injury

Like many other childhood illness, your child being diagnosed with cerebral palsy is not your fault. Because the causes are mostly unknown, cerebral palsy is unable to be prevented.

When to See a Physician?

The following symptoms or manifestations of cerebral palsy should be assessed by a physician as soon as possible after the child presents the following:

• Developmental delays (such as not reaching for toys by four months, not sitting up by seven months)
• Problems with motor skills (inability/difficulty walking, crawling or moving the arms and legs)
• Uncoordinated movements
• Muscle tone that is too tight (stiff) or too loose

Difficulties with Cerebral Palsy

There are a range of physical and cognitive impairments that are evident in people with cerebral palsy. Each person is different, and their manifestations depend highly on what part of the brain was affected, to what degree, and what kind of cerebral palsy they have. In general, cerebral palsy can cause the following:

• Visual impairment or blindness
• Hearing loss or deafness
• Gastroesophageal reflux (excessive spitting up)
• Tooth decay
• Learning disabilities
• Sleep disorders
• Behavioural problems
• Seizures

How is Cerebral Palsy Treated?

There are no cures for cerebral palsy, but targeted treatment is available for the different deficits that may arise in persons with cerebral palsy.

Physiotherapy
• Massage therapy
• Speech-Language therapy
• Occupational therapy
Assistance with activities of daily living
Medications (for pain, muscle spasms, gastrointestinal problems)
• Surgery (to correct physiological impairments, such as scoliosis [if developed])

How Can Freiheit Care Help?

Cerebral palsy is diagnosed in childhood, however Freiheit Care Inc. can support adults living with cerebral palsy as well.

We have a range of services that can provide additional support for you or your child in your home. Personal support workers are available to assist with various activities of daily living, such as bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding, meal preparation and light housekeeping. We have nurses on staff who can be utilized to provide at-home therapies, such as medication management and physiotherapy exercises (only if prescribed by a physiotherapist).

Call us at (613) 518-8258 to consult with our Intake Specialist and find out how Freiheit Care Inc. can support you and your child.

Additional Resources