We’re all at least a bit afraid of getting older, and a large part of it can be attributed to the fear of losing our independence.
We all want to feel useful, strong, ready to take on the world on our own, without having to rely on anyone else for help and support. However, aging often ushers in an era where we do need a helping hand, even if we refuse to ask for it.
Let’s explore why support and independence are so important for seniors, and how we can provide just that.
Individualism and why it matters
We’re all used to certain routines, have our own habits and preferences, opinions, and thoughts. As we grow older, none of them become less important – but exercising them can become a bit more challenging.
It’s important to remember that seniors are more than just old. They have an entire life behind them, and a plethora of experiences that make them who they are. Taking that away is not only cruel but can also have serious consequences, leading to depression and destructive behaviors.
Try to let the seniors in your life live to the best of their ability just like they used to, and don’t force them to adopt a completely new lifestyle at such an advanced age. True, there are certain things they can no longer do. But rather than telling them off, try to have a rational conversation about the matter. After all, rational adults accept the limits of aging and will learn to adapt to the new situation.
While seniors should by no means be written off, there are certain measures you need to take to ensure their safety, along with their individuality and a sense of purpose.
Make sure that the alarms in their homes work, and ask the neighbors to check on them. Sometimes a nasty fall can prevent them from calling for help, and knowing that they have not been seen in a day can make all the difference.
If they’re still driving, make sure their car is equipped for senior drivers with regard to the challenges they face. If they’re not driving anymore, make sure they have a reliable way of getting around.
Try to ensure the home is safe by removing all trip and fall hazards, like slippery rugs and tables that are too big for the room. If they need help getting up the stairs, see how you can overcome this issue with as little hassle as possible.
Whatever you do, consult them, involve them, and don’t barge in trying to change their way of life.
Physical health and how to maintain it
If you try to prevent a senior from doing anything, expecting them to lie in bed and not move around much (even though they can and want to), you’ll be doing them huge disfavor.
As we get older, exercise becomes even more important because the bones, joints, and muscles get weaker and more fragile.
While seniors can no longer work out like they used to, encouraging them to walk, perform senior yoga exercises, go to the pool, or engage in any other activity they’re fit and up for should be high on your list of priorities.
Maintaining a strong and balanced body means keeping all sorts of chronic illnesses at bay, and getting older does not mean being forced to patiently wait for death to come knocking. On the contrary, keeping fit is the best way to reap the benefits of old age.
Purpose and how to provide it
Once they retire, seniors can start to feel useless and superfluous, and like they no longer contribute to society.
You can help them combat this feeling by giving them something to do that is in line with their physical abilities. Babysitting seems like the obvious choice, but you can also ask them to fold laundry, help you meal prep, recount the news to you while you shop, write out recipes, etc.
Don’t just force seniors to do something that is clearly meaningless, with the aim of keeping them occupied. They’re still more than capable of pulling their weight, the only thing that has changed is the weight of that weight.
Getting older is a time for enjoying the fruits of your labor and finding time to do the things you never used to have time for. That’s why allowing your seniors the independence and support they need can make their lives so much better.