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.