How To Help a Senior Age with Dignity

By Natasha Woods

When aging, it is normal for anyone to feel negative emotions. This is especially the case when you’re afflicted by a debilitating condition like dementia or chronic arthritis. The older adult often feels frustrated, angry, and sad because they can’t perform even simple tasks.

Fortunately, we can always help seniors age with their dignity intact. In fact, there are many things that you can do. Below you can find some great suggestions that will help you to help the seniors you love.

Guarantee Safety

As a person ages, mobility and cognition decrease. This is why seniors become vulnerable. Something as simple as a walk can become a problem. With this in mind, one of the best things that you can do for the senior you love is to help them live a safe, normal life.

Many things can be done to increase senior safety. For instance, you can install a stair lift. This would help move around the home’s different levels without any danger. Stair lift prices are lower than ever so installing one can actually be considered.

Check the home and see where there are safety hazards. Update the house and remove any of these hazards and the senior will no longer need to deal with dangerous situations.

Be As Supportive As Possible

While most people focus on the physical side of aging, we need to also consider the mental side of not being able to do things that were simple in the past. For instance, not being able to shower as easily and now requiring assistance can lead to depression.

What you have to do is to help the senior by being as supportive as possible. Do not point out the negative sides of aging or the things that the loved older adult cannot do anymore. It is always better to remain positive and encourage conversations. One of the easiest things you can do to help a senior loved one is to talk to them.

Respect Choices

Many seniors need assistance so you will be tempted to make decisions for them by thinking you know what’s best. Unfortunately, when you dictate a large part of the loved one’s schedule, problems can unfold. It is very important you listen to the desires of the older adult and that you respect them. If you do not agree with some choices, you can speak up but this does not mean you should dismiss them.

As an example, if the senior does not want to go to a nursing home, you do not want to force this. Even if the situation is extreme and the nursing home is the best possible option, you have to convince the senior so that they makes the final decision.

Be Patient

Last but not least, remember the fact that caring for a senior you love doesn’t need to be stressful. Also, the stress that you feel should never reflect on the senior. This is much easier said than done, especially when the older adult is affected by a mental condition like dementia.

You may often see the senior not remember some things you discussed in the past. This is where patience steps in and you will need to explain some things again and again, as many times as necessary. Exercise patience and do all that you can for the senior to fully understand what is happening and what the best options are to help age gracefully.

Try stepping in their shoes and understand how you’d feel with someone coming into your life, caring for every little thing, taking away part of your independence, and trying to make decisions for you. It doesn’t sound like fun, does it. It’s up to caregivers to take the best care of their senior loved ones, even if it means letting go of some control and letting the loved one make decisions for themselves as often as possible.

Tags: Aging