How To Help Seniors Cope With Loss Of Independence


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senior playing piano

Most people begin to perform daily life tasks independently by the age of 20. Later in life or by the age of 70 they may find that they are unable to perform those tasks or fulfill their care needs. This loss of independence may create may emotional, physical and psychological problems in a person. Individuals can easy become depressed at this point. Caregivers can provide immense support at this time while helping seniors understand the process.

According to a study conducted by AARP in 2012, 57% of seniors over the age of 70 find it difficult to live alone as they need help with daily tasks. With loss of independence, many seniors may exhibit emotions such as denial, bad mood, guilt, anxiety, sadness and frustration.

Below are some types of independence seniors may lose according to their health or cognitive condition.

  • Ability to take care of oneself
  • Ability to perform daily tasks or chores
  • Mobility
  • Memory
  • Hearing
  • Vision or Sight
  • Social Activities
  • Decision Making Skills
  • Driving

Helping seniors cope with loss of independence

As time goes by, seniors may feel increasing need for a caregiver who could help them perform basic care tasks such as bathing, cooking or driving. Due to the loss of independence, seniors may feel irritable, anxious, afraid or sad. There are strategies that caregivers can use which could help seniors to accept and cope with loss of independence.

1. Caregivers must adhere to a standard of dignity. While seniors may lose their independence doesn’t mean that they should let go of their dignity as well. Caregivers should always guard seniors privacy.

2. Honesty and trust are important qualities in a caregiver. With time caregivers can help build trust with seniors by showing their support and being compassionate.

3. Caregivers maintaining a consistent routine will benefit senior as they won’t have to be anxious about when and how care will be provided. Seniors may even look forward to certain events in the routine.

4. Even if seniors are not able to provide basic care needs for themselves, caregivers should ask for seniors input whether it’s related to food or the color of clothes. Caregiver has a supportive role not a leading role. By asking seniors about their preferences, it gives seniors a chance to be involved in the decision making.

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