Keeping your loved one independent

Image: Keeping your loved one independent

In this session of Caregiver Tip Tuesday we explore ways to encourage your loved one to remain independent.

As with most seniors, losing independence is often part of the aging processes. Encouraging your loved one to remain as independent as possible is an important component of caregiving. Here are a few simple tips to help keep your loved one independent.

  • Encourage independence from the beginning: Emphasizing the importance of your loved one's independence from the beginning will allow them to understand that your caregiving is not intended to rob them of their freedom. Be clear that you want them to be as independent as possible and are only there to assist when and where they need it.
  • Involve your loved one in their care planning: If and where possible involve your loved one when creating their care plan. Encourage them to participate in discussions regarding their care and identify what areas of their life they would like more or less assistance. Be sure to discuss how their care plans may change in the future due to their health and what changes they would like to see.
  • Invest in the right equipment: Having the right equipment in your or your loved one's home can greatly help in ensuring your loved one stays independent. Take a scan of your loved one's surroundings and determine what equipment you may need. This may include such things as: a walker, wheel chair, handle bars in the bath tub, no slip resistant mats, Life alert bracelets or necklaces, cell phones and Hoyer lifts. If you are not sure what equipment would be suitable for your loved one's condition, speak with your loved ones doctor or care team.
  • Reconfigure the setup of your home: Alongside having the right equipment, rearrange your home or loved one's home to be more conducive to remaining independent. Place common items that your loved one may use on a daily basis in easy reach, ie. move plates or pots from back cupboards to top cupboards or on the table. Remove clutter or items that may make it hard to move around or could be potential hazards for falls. I.e. runner carpets. Considering moving your loved one to the main floor. This will alleviate any difficulties they may have moving up and down stairs.