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Top Tips For Helping Your Loved One Feel More Independent and Safe

depression in older people

As we get older, things like independence, safety and peace of mind become more and more important to us. Being able to make your own decisions and go about your life according to our own beliefs and preferences is central to any person’s dignity – especially as we get older.

For so many, that independence and autonomy is often denied as you get older, partly for health and safety reasons. But getting older doesn’t mean you have to give up or lose all of your independence.

At Balcome, our residential care aims to enable our residents to enjoy maximum independence and peace of mind, knowing that help is always at hand. At our homes, residents have 24 hour access to personal care and practical support with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, moving around and light, personal housekeeping.

Whilst our care homes and staff are extremely adept at making our residents feel as independent as possible, there are some easy ways in which you can help your loved one feel more independent.

Decision Making

At the core of being independent is the ability to make decisions for yourself. The older you get the more accustomed you become to deciding your own actions. By removing this sense of self-determination many people, no matter their age, can lead to feelings of denial and depression.

This is why it so important to keep making your loved one part of the decision making process. However trivial, try not to assume that they are unable to make a decision or don’t care. By presenting your loved one with the relevant information and asking their opinion on big decisions you can continue to give them that feeling of independence, whilst encouraging them to make healthy life choices.

Checking In

Regular visits, even short ones, are not only a great way to check up on your loved one, they’re also an excellent source of social interaction.

Companionship is simple and easy way of lifting your loved one’s spirits by providing mental stimulation, boosting self esteem and releasing hormones that reduce stress. This can have a huge effect on your loved one’s mood and ability to stay more active and independent.

Staying Active

As we get older we begin to see real changes in the way our bodies look, feel and work. Some age-related changes, such as wrinkles and grey hair, are inevitable. However, many of these changes, whether it’s difficulty with mobility or remembering things, can be slowed with some simple daily exercise.

Helping your loved one to stay fit, healthy and mobile is a great way to help them stay independent. You can do this by encouraging and joining in with their weekly exercises or by taking them on a walk yourself. Even encouraging them to exercise whilst sat in their chair can have a huge impact on their mood and independence.

Embrace Technology

In the past, there has been a stereotype that technology is ‘only for young people’, but this simply isn’t true anymore. If anything, technology has been a great tool for helping older people maintain their independence for longer. It can be especially effective if it isn’t easy for a person to leave the house. For instance, many social media platforms enable face-to-face contact, which can be extremely helpful for your loved one to keep in contact with their friends and family. Home technologies, such as smart lights, automated thermostats are also another great way of making life more convenient.

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