Elder Care for Independence
Your Mom’s favorite activity has always been curling up with a good book. Now she’s elderly and that’s still her favorite. So why not leave her alone with that book?
Escaping into a novel while raising a family is very different than sitting in a chair reading all by yourself when your family is grown and gone.
When your Mom was younger, she was busy and the book was an escape for her from the hectic life of wife, mother and all the other roles she played. Now her house is quiet and she is alone.
Your loved one, whether parent, grandparent or spouse, wants to be able to live independently as long as possible.
Maintaining a healthy mind in a healthy body is essential. If your loved one quietly withdraws from the world in a lonely house with a book or the TV, that existence will not last very long.
Weakness, lethargy and pure boredom will lead to depression, not eating and a downward spiral until that independence is gone.
Activity Stimulates the Mind and Keeps Blood Circulating
It stimulates interest in the world around us. Activity, especially at the end of life’s journey, helps to keep us sharp and involved in life, an essential part of elder care.
Basically the activity can be anything that your loved one likes from acting and astronomy to ziplining and zumba.
- Not everyone’s excited about quilting, but quilting is an art form. If you’ve never been to one, take your loved one along to a quilt show. You’ll be amazed. This isn’t your grandmother’s craft anymore. Some people would prefer a dark night and a telescope or ghost hunting with friends. But hobbies can become passions and it’s good to have a passion for something.
- Invite some of your loved one’s old friends over for lunch. Bring them back together. See if anything clicks. Maybe they’ll set up a regular get together for cards or bowling or form a book club.
- Staying active means being able to move. And in seniors some form of exercise on a daily basis is necessary to keep them mobile. Walking is great, especially with a dog or friends. Whatever the exercise is, it needs to be enjoyable. Golf, bowling, yoga or gardening can all be fun and strengthening.
- Exercise for the mind can be as simple as reading novels, but for people who spent their lives working, work is often the answer. Volunteering at a hospital, community center or non-profit agency like the Humane Society helps to keep your loved one busy and satisfied. Perhaps even more satisfying is paid consulting work if your senior has expertise in some field. The field can be carpentry as well as astrophysics. Tutoring can be either volunteer or for pay. Either way stimulates more than one mind.
- Finally there are thousands of interesting educational courses online and in colleges and junior colleges all across America. Learning quantum mechanics may not be the goal, but a course in auto mechanics or creative writing might be.
- And, of course there are senior centers and adult day care programs where your loved one can meet people of the same age.
Sometimes elder care means bringing in an in home caregiver, providing stimulation, companionship, supervision and some housekeeping. This is especially helpful when the loved one has dementia. Elder care is not just providing food and shelter for the one you love, but helping to keep mind and body alive and functioning – well.
Try these helpful sites, or reach out to use for a friendly consult.