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Blog Feature

By: Marissa Salvesen on July 8th, 2014

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Independence and Your Aging Loved One

seniors and independence | assisted living | Aging & Caregiving

independence-aging-lovedAdult children are tasked with many important decisions when it comes to the care and well being of their parents. While easing the transition through the aging process may seem overwhelming, the results can be fulfilling -- both for caregivers and seniors.

Read on to learn more about how to promote a fulfilling quality of life for your aging loved ones by enabling their sense of independence.

A Safe Environment

Declines in cognitive function and fine motor skills can make previously simple tasks a challenge. The home should remain a safe haven during this time of change. Basic safety precautions include ample lighting, clear, clutter-free paths between furniture, and easy access to frequently used items.

Because bathroom injuries are so common among seniors, security measures such as non-slip mats, grab bars and handrails offer precautionary safety solutions.

Active Means Independent

The more active your aging loved one remains, the more independent he/she will be. In fact, lack of activity leads to a higher risk of common trips and falls which compromise independence. A combination of daily strength training and cardiovascular activity offers optimal health benefits.

For many seniors, walking is an easy and effective way to reap the benefits of daily physical activity. Just be sure to consult with your aging loved one’s primary care physician before beginning a new exercise program.

Live Well

Loneliness and isolation not only affect quality of life, but also longevity. Promote independence -- and longer life -- by fostering meaningful social interactions. Smartphones offer a new way to keep distant loved ones in touch with each other. While learning this new technology can be intimidating, the rewards are well worth it.

Additionally, encourage your aging loved one to participate in hobbies and other engaging activities. By signing up for a class at the local community center or volunteering to read to preschoolers at the library, your aging loved one will enjoy a greater sense of purpose and belonging, not to mention a beneficial brain boost.

Embrace Technology

While seniors may initially resist modern technology, these advancements offer tremendous rewards for those willing to learn. From automated grocery deliveries and medicine refills to mobile health tools -- such as “smart” pill bottles and calendar apps for tracking doctors appointments -- you can help your aging loved one establish a safe, reliable foundation for continued independence.

As Americans are living longer, their needs are changing. Proactive measures not only improve independence, but also overall quality of life.

Key Takeaways

  • A safe home environment offers enhanced comfort, security and independence
  • Routine physical activity -- from strength training to walking -- is a critical part of remaining independent
  • Social connections are essential, and can help decrease feelings of isolation while increasing feelings of self-worth
  • Technological innovations promote safer, healthier and more independent living for aging loved ones

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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.