Independence simply means thinking and acting for yourself and having autonomy over your own life. Many would agree that the importance of independence is instilled upon us from an early age. As we get older, the aging process can pose challenges to our ability to maintain independence. The importance of independence itself, however, doesn’t simply diminish. It’s still incredibly important to seniors and those with chronic conditions.
Performing tasks necessary for survival, like activities of daily living (ADLs), often becomes more difficult over time due to chronic conditions or other difficulties caused by declines in mental and physical health. Sometimes there comes a point when outside help is needed. In most cases, family members step in to care for their elderly loved ones. They are then sometimes faced with the decision to seek professional help, like that of home care or home health care, when the needs of their loved one become too complex.
Living arrangements play an important role in a person’s quality of life, especially for seniors with dementia, and research shows that the independence of seniors living at home is greater than those in care facilities. In a 2010 study, it was found that 90% of seniors expressed wanting to remain in their home as long as possible. It’s also been found that autonomy and making decisions for yourself plays a crucial role in the increased quality of life for the elderly. Remaining at home is an ideal option for many and can encourage exercise, movement, and physical and mental stimulation, especially for older adults who are more likely to be sedentary, which results in adverse physical and mental health effects.
The need for assistance with ADLs or other tasks does not have to mean a loss of independence. Quite the opposite, home care allows seniors to remain independent for as long as possible in the place they most want to be. Home care assists seniors in the ability to make healthy life choices or follow clinical orders on their care plan. Home care is the difference between doing tasks with seniors, as opposed to for them.
Though some people may experience denial or resistance to assistance at first, the right kind of outside help can be dignified. This is the goal of home care. Allowing seniors to remain at home and maintain control of their environment, lifestyle, and personal routines is a key factor in dignified care. This helps promote a sense of empowerment and self-worth, which is very important when the feeling of loss of control or autonomy often accompanies the very normal challenges of the aging process that can impact one’s performance of everyday tasks. In-home care caregivers are exposed to and comfortable with the natural struggles of aging. Rather than taking over daily tasks, caregivers aim to uplift and empower seniors to do as much as possible on their own while providing crucial support. Ultimately, the choice to follow a care plan, doctor’s orders, or suggestions from care providers is an individual’s to make.
How Home Care Supports Senior Independence:
- Higher levels of happiness and satisfaction; Improved quality of life and wellbeing
- Fewer hospital admissions
- Increased safety and security; Reduction in falls
- Reduced decline in function in people with dementia.
- Personalized care that meets the needs of every unique individual leading to confidence in one’s ability to live life the way they want.