Written by: Anne Marie Fogarty, RGN
Promoting Independence in Older Adults
Many older people want to remain in their own homes, independently, for as long as possible. Most of us would agree that having familiar surroundings, neighbours, a community, and our own home comforts is what we want as we age.
It’s possible to spend your later years at home, but some people require support and assistance in the form of assisted living or care homes. If you’re lucky enough to be able to stay in your home, changes will promote independence and prolong your time living in your own home.
There are several things that can be done to promote independence in older people and help them live at home for longer.
Tips for Independent Living
Focus on the positive and what older people can do – focus on the capabilities. It can seem so negative at times, always looking at what we cant do for ourselves, but it creates a more upbeat mindset if we focus on what we can do!
Make home modifications
Make sure the home is safe and easy to navigate. This can include adding grab bars in the bathroom, installing ramps or stair lifts, and removing tripping hazards. Loose mats, cables, draping bed covers, and anything that has the potential to create a slip or trip should be removed.
Utilise assistive devices
There are many devices that can help older people with mobility or other limitations. This can include walkers, canes, hearing aids, and adaptive utensils.
Regular exercise can help maintain mobility and strength, which can help prevent falls and maintain independence. Encourage your loved one to participate in walking, swimming, or yoga activities.
Provide transportation options
Older people may have difficulty driving or getting around independently. Look into transportation options like public transit or senior transportation services.
Connect with others
Isolation can lead to depression and cognitive decline. Encourage your loved one to participate in social activities or connect with friends and family.
Regular check-ups and monitoring of health conditions can help prevent complications and keep older people healthy.
Ensure proper nutrition
A balanced diet is important for overall health and can help prevent chronic conditions. Make sure there is access to healthy food options.
Simplify daily tasks
Older people may have difficulty with tasks like cooking or cleaning. Simplify these tasks by prepping meals in advance or hiring a cleaning service.
Provide emotional support
Older people may face challenges with losing independence or other life changes. Be there to listen and provide emotional support.
Consider home care services
If your loved one needs assistance with daily tasks or has medical needs, consider hiring a home care provider to assist them while still allowing them to live at home.
We have created a bespoke healthcare package that can help those caring for older people to promote independence, monitor safe care and streamline health and social care for those who want to live at home or in a care setting independently.
For help and support, speak with your community healthcare professional or GP. Several charities also across the UK provide advice and information on independent living, aged care, health promotion, and more.