At our home in Surrey, aging is something we consider a mighty achievement. To reach a grand age is something to be celebrated; and as carers, we love hearing our residents’ life stories.
We all know that aging, unfortunately, comes with its complications – with our physical health often taking the brunt. Health restrictions can often facilitate feelings of helplessness and frustration – but it’s by no means a reason to give up on the goal of independent living.
If your loved one is suffering from a health condition, you might find it difficult to encourage them to regain their confidence and come out of their shell.
So, how can you encourage independent living for the elderly?
Encourage physical activity
For some elderly people, the idea of engaging in exercise may seem unachievable. But there are so many different ways to get moving; many of which can be adapted to suit varying abilities.
To be independent, an individual needs to feel free, with the knowledge and confidence to explore areas outside of their comfort zone.
If your loved one seems reluctant at first to leave their safe space, offer to embark on a gentle outdoor stroll with them once a day. Eventually, if their physical ability allows, they’ll likely want to venture further and try out different routes.
Dancing is another activity popular amongst all age groups. And just like walking, it can be adapted to suit a range of abilities. It’s a great way to meet the need of interacting with others, whilst succeeding to reduce high blood pressure and strengthen the bones.
Engaging in exercise is also a great way to reduce the risk of developing health conditions in the future.
Keep their mind active
Though less visible, our cognitive and mental health is no less important than our physical health. And to remain independent as we enter old age, we need to try and keep our brains sharp whilst maintaining a ‘glass half full’ attitude.
Try encouraging your loved one to stimulate their mind daily – whether that’s presenting them with a puzzle, playing a mentally stimulating game with them, or taking some time to read a book with them.
Our brains are elastic, too, meaning that they never stop growing and changing. They thrive from new information and gaining new skills, so it’s a really good idea to try and encourage your loved one to learn something new. Whether that’s a new instrument, or simply a new fact each day, it’s a sure-fire way to keep the brain active.
For those in need of dementia care, their ability to live independently, as they used to, becomes somewhat halted. But that doesn’t mean that individuals living with dementia are any less deserving of living the most independent lifestyle they can.
In a care home setting, possibilities of independent living are revived. In a safe, secure and supervised environment, individuals can begin to indulge in doing things they love, without compromise to their health.
At the estate, we adopt a holistic approach to health. This means that when it comes to offering care, we view the mind, body and soul as being interconnected. So, when it comes to cognitive health, we also benefit from eating healthy, wholesome foods. Anything that nourishes the body nourishes the mind, too – and vice versa.
Hobbies & social interaction
Hobbies are a great way to not only learn something new, but provide the opportunity to find a new passion. They’re also great opportunities for social interaction.
Taking up a new hobby can help to re-instil a sense of purpose, which is something that can come under threat as we leave the working world. It’s a great way to boost mental health and improve self-esteem, which are both crucial in building up the confidence to lead a more independent lifestyle.
At the estate, we love encouraging our people to get involved with our on-site activities – from gardening and arts and crafts to baking and pet therapy.
We’re passionate about helping our people live as independently as possible, whilst offering them tailored, individualised care. Our person-centred approach means that the most intricate of individual needs are always considered, with character building and emotional support being as crucial to us as physical and nursing support.
To find out more about how we encourage independent living for the elderly at the estate, please click here.