If you ask your elderly mom or dad what is the most important thing for them as they age, “maintaining independence” is likely to be one of the top three concerns that are voiced. Independence is certainly one of the most important things to consider when planning out senior care, and although this isn’t always possible to attain, it needs to be one of your key considerations.
This is one of the biggest concerns that the elderly have about senior care because it is indicative of a large change of lifestyle. This is especially true when the words “nursing home” are heard. However, not all types of senior care are necessarily restrictive of how seniors live their lives, but oftentimes, it is the decline in health that does this. It might seem like this is a chicken or the egg type question, but it’s an important distinction, and it can be helpful to explain this to a loved one if they are having difficulty understanding why you want them to have a professional caregiver. It’s not that you want to take away their freedom, but that their physical limitations necessitate extra care.
When it comes to care, some types are better suited for maintaining independence than others. For example, in-home care allows your parent to stay in their own house, and the care comes to them. At an adult day care, your mom or dad goes to a senior center for a few hours, and then gets to come home and enjoy themselves as they normally would. These are considered types of care, but they help your loved one to keep as much of their independence as possible while receiving it. Other types of care, like the hospital or a nursing home, restrict freedom quite a bit. This is why it is so important that you match up your loved one’s needs with the type of care that will best help them. You don’t want to restrict their freedom in an unneeded way.
Furthermore, every individual has their own definition of independence. Think about it. Are you really truly free to just do whatever you want? Of course not. You have responsibilities to uphold and you have people that depend on you. So when you do have this discussion with your mother or father, be sure to talk with them about what independence means to them at this stage in their life. They likely have a different definition than you do, and regardless of what it is, this is a good starting point for talking about senior care and how to get the most out of it.
For a moment, think about what your loved one is going through from your own point of view. Do you want to be in a nursing home or hospital where your every move is determined by someone else? Do you want to only be able to walk down the hallway if you have someone’s permission first? Of course you don’t, and your family doesn’t either. Unfortunately, in many cases this is unavoidable.