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Promoting Independence in the Elderly

With an increasingly elderly population, it has long been recognised that, whether it be in a residential environment or at home and within the community, independence is very much key to helping care recipients maintain a good quality of life.

There are many of our elderly that are living with loss of mobility or mental health issues that can severely affect their independence. People in these situations may experience feelings of frustration or worry at losing their ability to manage the everyday things that most of us take for granted. These may range from simply taking a stroll to the newsagent, carrying out basic tasks around the home or, indeed, personal care.

There are numerous support and focus groups which may be able to offer sound advice and promote good practices. In addition, the care industry is evolving to meet current and anticipated demand. Whether in a residential setting or within the home, assisting our elderly generation in maintaining their independence is key to helping them enjoy a good quality of life.

Promoting Independence in the Elderly

Diverse Requirements

It is important to remember that there are a variety of reasons as to why our elderly may need support. Many of the older generation have enjoyed long and productive lives, with an active family and social life. When the time comes in which a little extra help is needed, this can be met with frustration, depression or financial concerns.

To suddenly or even gradually find themselves unable to manage can be stressful and difficult to assimilate. They may experience a gradual decline in general health or a sudden and complete change following surgery or a hospital stay. There are many things as a carer that can be achieved in any setting that can really help encourage and promote a sustained level of independence.

Promoting Independence in the Elderly

Promoting Independence: Some Examples

  • Daily care, personal tasks such as brushing hair. Rather than doing this for them, you can pass them the hairbrush or put in a place that is easy to reach so they are able to manage the task themselves.
  • Physical activity, although this may not be practical in every situation, gentle exercise is beneficial to all and should be encouraged where possible. This could range from taking a gentle stroll around the garden to managing light household duties such as dusting.
  • Focusing on what they can do, you can encourage your care recipients in achievable tasks. These can be as simple as putting on a pair of slippers or enjoying a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Being aware of the environment - this can apply in a residential or home setting. The provision of appropriate seating will make getting up and down more manageable. In the home, additional equipment such as a shower chair in the bathroom or a perching stool in the kitchen can ensure that tasks can be undertaken safely and independently.

These are just a few simple examples of an overall approach to encouraging confidence, promoting well being and creating a sustainable quality of life.

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