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Nurturing Independence While Caregiving

As the people we love age, it can be easy to take over every aspect of their lives without even meaning to. The sentiment we often hear is “they took care of me, and now it’s my turn to take care of them”. While this is a well-meaning thought, it can lead to dimming your loved one’s enthusiasm for life if taken too far. Assisting with the things they are no longer physically able to do is necessary for their safety, doing absolutely everything for them is unhealthy.

At Home Care Assistance of Summit, one thing that we like to remind caregivers is to put yourself in their place. Try to understand the feelings they are experiencing. Seniors often experience sadness, frustration or even anger as they are forced to give up certain activities that they were used to doing independently. Not only may hobbies be difficult or impossible to complete, simple daily tasks such as personal hygiene may be too challenging to complete without assistance.

Remember to always approach these subjects with sensitivity. Part of respecting the person you are caring for is allowing them to do what they are able to do without your supervision or input. If they are no longer able to participate in hobbies they once enjoyed, get creative. Many hobbies can be modified to meet the specific needs of seniors. For example, the popular hobby of gardening can become difficult for the elderly as mobility issues or chronic pain persists. When this is the case, consider potted plants which can be cared for while inside in a comfortable position. If your loved one can no longer get into the shower without assistance, only help with that specific part of the bathing process. Let them undress and bathe on their own and come back only to help with the part they struggle with or if asked.

Allowing independence may be more time consuming and even may be difficult emotionally, but can help promote feelings of self-esteem and value for our aging loved ones. If you currently provide care for your aging parent or loved one and are struggling to meet their needs, it’s okay to ask for help. Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of hourly and live-in home care in Summit. Our caregivers are compassionate and highly trained in how to assist with daily tasks while promoting optimal independence and dignity.

For more information about our in-home care plans, contact a Care Manager at 908-450-9400 today.