A lot of seniors, ages 56 on up, are still young and vital. They are included in the term “senior citizens,” but seniors aged 70 and up can still be active and independent. If you are caring for a loved one, such as a parent or grandparent, who may or my not be disabled, it’s important to respect them as able-bodied individuals and not try to take that away from them. My grandmother was active all the way up until she was 85. She lived independently, with little help from others. Between 85 and 93 when she died, she lived with family. Here are a few things I learned from caring for her that may help others out there.
Listen to what the senior you are caring for has to say. They still have value and it’s important to care about their opinions. If they say they don’t want to do something, then consider if it’s something essential that they need to do vs. something you just want them to do. On the other side of things, if it’s something they want to do consider letting them try to do it. When my grandmother wanted to go out for a walk, we would try to make that happen for her. Of course she was in her wheel chair, but we tried to give her the things she wanted along with the things she needed.
#2. Give Them Options
Meeting a senior half way goes a long way. It avoids a lot of frustration and arguments. When the elderly wants to do something that is dangerous or not fit for them. It’s good to give them other options that are safer and more realistic. For example if they want to cook by themselves, that may not be safe because they could harm themselves or even others if a fire or such thing occurs. So saying to them they can so on of so many options and let them choose. Examples could be making a sandwich, setting the table, and pouring a glass of water etc. Also let them know there are several other things that they are capable of doing to prevent the feeling of inadequacy.
#3. Let Them Do What They Are Capable Of
Let the senior do what they are able to do. That involves using the bathroom, making their own food with supervision, taking care of their own hygienic needs etc. Also it’s great if they want to remain active and have a social life. They can go Church or other events with friends and family. Have birthday parties and celebrate the holidays with people they enjoy being around. They can grocery shop along with you. Never try to make them slow down with regards to things that aren’t dangerous.
There is a big difference between supervising and controlling the senior. Supervise means to just watch and make sure things are going smoothly. Don’t use a lot of force or take charge with everything. Make sure they are taking their medication, help them when necessary, and let them be as independent as they possibly can.