“Aging in Place,” a study conducted by Clarity and The EAR Foundation, found that the number one fear of seniors was losing their independence. 89 percent of those surveyed wanted to age in place and over half of those in the study were uncertain about their ability to do just that. According to these same seniors, there are three determining factors in their ability to remain independent: health issues, memory problems and the inability to drive.
Deteriorating health can lead to a host of factors that limit independence. From a fall that results in decreased mobility to a disease such as arthritis that leads to chronic pain, these are just a few of the many reasons for diminishing health that can affect seniors determined to live on their own. Safety becomes an increasing issue. The fear of movement promotes isolation. Loss of companionship and social networks, leading to depression and further loss of movement, just serves to promote a vicious cycle of increasing dependence.
Memory problems can extend from mild cognitive impairment that does not interfere with their daily lives to dementia which leaves seniors no longer able to do the everyday tasks of living due to mental impairment. The memory problems associated with dementia can lead to getting lost in familiar places to forgetting recent events and the friends and family in their lives.
Perhaps one of the most high-impact losses in a senior’s life is that of their driver’s license. Once this occurs, many experience diminishing activities outside the home. The sense of freedom that getting into the driver’s seat whenever they wanted something or had to go somewhere is no longer evident—an enormous life-altering event.
In order to help your parent through the changes that growing older brings, help them keep as much independence as they can and support them in the least obtrusive ways when they can’t. If you are acting as a family caregiver, provide interactive care. This means that you work with your parent as much as possible instead of doing everything for them. They may not be able to pick up the laundry to put it in the washer, but they can help fold the clothes. Senior care providers make it a point to interactively engage with those they care for by accompanying them on walks, gardening together, enjoying their favorite hobbies as well as helping with the daily activities of living.
Help your parent find alternatives. Most communities have several transportation options for the elderly. This may include a volunteer organization that drives homebound seniors to the public transportation system that offers senor discounts. Accompany your parent, or have their senior care provider, on their first few excursions in order to get them use to the process. Senior care providers offer transportation service as well.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Big Timber, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 406-839-2390.