Independence is important at any age but it’s a particularly important consideration for the elderly.
Older adults have spent their whole adult lives living by their own means and losing this independence can be discouraging and distressing.
As the relative or caregiver of a senior, you want the best for your loved one. You want to help them in every way possible while also allowing them to maintain as much freedom as possible. This promotes a positive mindset and gives them a sense of purpose in life.
But this freedom can be difficult when your relative has limited mobility, poor sight, and declining cognitive function.
While aging does come along with lots of challenges, it doesn’t mean that the seniors in your life can’t enjoy independent living. There are now lots of great home modifications and community based services that can make daily living much easier for them without taking away their autonomy.
So, why is it so important for seniors to maintain their independence as they age?
4 Reasons that Explain The Importance of Independence:
1. To Increase sense of control.
Maintaining a sense of control is important for anybody. Elderly people can often feel out of control when they lack independence. They can feel like they aren’t able to make their own decisions and this can make them feel isolated and incapable.
The ability to live independently empowers your elderly relative and promotes a strong sense of self worth and self esteem.
If you’re worried about your loved one being at home on their own but you still want them to maintain as much independence as possible, you can get medical alert systems for seniors installed in their home. These devices will get activated when they are in trouble so they can receive the necessary help from emergency medical services.
You can also arrange a weekly food delivery service to their home so they don’t need to struggle walking around the shops on their own. Allow them to pick out the foods and meals they’d like to get delivered so they feel more in control.
2. To Maintain balance and strength.
Aging often comes along with worsening balance and decreasing strength. By living as independently as possible, your senior relative will likely remain active. They will be moving around a lot on their own to perform their usual activities of daily living.
Muscle weakness and loss are common concerns in the elderly. Regular movement can help to maintain muscle and strength in those who are aging. It also promotes great balance and mobility, reducing the chances of falls and injuries.
When your loved one is moving around independently every day, they will feel more motivated and confident in their own abilities.
You can provide them with mobility devices if you’re concerned about letting them walk around completely unassisted. Some great aids include walking sticks, Zimmer frames, and railings.
3. To maintain a sense of purpose.
Loss of independence can be very discouraging and diminishing for aging individuals. It can be demotivating when they’ve spent years living independently and they’re now reliant on others for their daily activities.
Seniors can feel isolated and helpless when they are unable to perform basic tasks on their own. This can have a negative effect on their mental health and may lower their quality of life.
The ability for your senior relative to make their own decisions is extremely important to maintain a sense of individuality. It’s vital for your loved one to feel confident and fulfilled.
Independent living ensures that they can continue making their own decisions based on their individual needs and preferences. Without this, they might feel like less of an individual.
Doing everything you can for your senior relative to help them maintain their independence will give them a sense of purpose. It enables them to continue finding enjoyment in their lives and boosts their mental health.
When they are able to complete their usual activities without additional support, they will feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. You can get home modifications, such as ramps or smart technology devices to make independent home living easier for your loved one.
4. To boost memory.
Memory loss is a natural part of aging, but living independently is one of the best ways to retain key memory skills in the elderly.
Poor memory is often associated with cognitive decline, so it’s crucial that you give your elderly loved one the best opportunities to retain these skills. Daly routine and regular movement are both important to promote independence and boost memory.